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Wolff crash fury will not jeopardise Mercedes future – Russell

Wolff crash fury will not jeopardise Mercedes future – Russell

F1 News

Wolff crash fury will not jeopardise Mercedes future – Russell

Wolff crash fury will not jeopardise Mercedes future – Russell
Ian Parkes & Will Gray

George Russell has insisted his Mercedes future has not been jeopardised by his car-destroying collision with Valtteri Bottas despite Toto Wolff’s furious reaction to the incident in Sunday’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

Mercedes team principal Wolff dismissed company protégé Russell’s defence of his role in the incident as “bull***t” after questioning whether Bottas would have raced the way he did against another driver as they battled for ninth place.

Despite the clear frustration in the Mercedes camp, however, Russell said: “It’s not going to harm my relationship with Mercedes at all. I’ve already spoken with them and, you know, there’s understanding from both sides.

“When you’re looking forward, you’re not really taking consideration of what car it is but at the end of the day the move was absolutely on. It would have just been a clear, easy simple overtake had it not been a little bit damp at that point.”

Russell and Bottas are shaping up for a potential fight for a Mercedes seat in 2022 after the British driver impressed in Bahrain last year as a temporary replacement for Covid-hit Lewis Hamilton.

Rumours over the winter that Russell could swap teams with Bottas this year came to nothing but the Briton indicated there is no love lost between the pair by claiming the Finn may have taken different action for another driver.

Asked to clarify his comment, with clearer emotions, Russell added: “There’s no tension at all between Valtteri and I, but obviously, yeah, you can take that comment as you wish really.

“I think it was pretty clear how it was intended, but maybe I am wrong. Maybe he is just fighting for absolutely every position and, as I said, he’s in his right to do so.”

The incident is a rare blot on the copybook for Russell, who has been groomed as a potential replacement for Lewis Hamilton since Mercedes signed him up to its junior driver programme five years ago.

Speaking immediately after the race to Sky Sports F1, Wolff quipped: “I keep teasing him. I’ve said if he does a good job he can be in a Mercedes, if not we’re doing Renault Clio Cup and he’s more close to Renault Clio Cup.”

Wolff was later far more critical as he pointed out the cost of repairs could restrict the team’s ability to deliver updates and spare parts due to the budget cap introduced this season at a time when the team is planning for the sweeping rules changes for next season.

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