REVEALED: Wolff explains Mercedes driver selection criteria as team look to 2021
World champions Mercedes have two of the most prized seats on the Formula 1 grid, and both are currently available from 2021 onwards. Boss Toto Wolff explains there are a plethora of factors that come into deciding who will fill them, including personality…
It’s highly likely Lewis Hamilton will sign a fresh deal with Mercedes, the team with which he has won five of the last six world championships, with talks between the British driver and Wolff on-going as they debate the finer details.
Valtteri Bottas has done a solid job since joining the Silver Arrows in 2017, playing a key role in helping Mercedes continue adding to their haul of consecutive constructors’ championships, which currently stands at six and counting.
Mercedes could keep the same line-up for 2021, but they do have options should they want to change things. There are drivers with huge experience and success on the market, such as Sebastian Vettel who will part ways with Ferrari at the end of the year, and other options like George Russell, a Mercedes junior who has impressed at Williams, among others.
So how does Wolff go about making a call? “There is a data side of things,” he said in a video interview released by Mercedes. “You look at race results, back into the junior formulas, you look at comparisons with team mates and how these team mates compared to other people, and then there is the personality side, which is very important.
“How would the driver fit into the team structure? What would the dynamic be with the driver who could be his team mate? What’s the planning for the future?
With Lewis, I’ve been very much in contact, we’ve spoken regularly with Whatsapp very often, keeping each other up to date
“All these factors are being in a way compounded. We are discussing that in a forum, everyone gives their opinion, and most often everybody in that group has the same opinion anyway.”
While the F1 season remains on hiatus, Wolff says he has had varying levels of communication with his drivers.
“I very much leave it to the drivers,” he said. “When there is nothing urgent, I leave it to them to manage the communication. I haven’t spoken to Valtteri, I think he is in a good place personally, and I am happy about that.
“With Lewis, I’ve been very much in contact, we’ve spoken regularly with Whatsapp very often, keeping each other up to date.”