‘There might be a chance to keep him' – Capito keen to extend Russell’s stay at Williams
Now that Lando Norris’s new contract with McLaren is wrapped up, attention is turning to other potential moves in the driver market – and George Russell is another racer who is out of contract at the end of this year.
The young Brit is currently driving for Williams, but has a loing-standing relationship with Mercedes – who he drove for as a substitute for Lewis Hamilton in last year's Sakhir Grand Prix in Bahrain – and could be in line for a more permanent move to the Silver Arrows.
Williams CEO Jost Capito faced the questions over his driver’s future on Thursday in Monaco after FP1, and said that he would keep Russell if possible, given that the 23-year-old has spent his whole F1 career at the Grove team.
Asked if he would like to tie Russell down to Williams with a long-term deal, Capito replied: “Of course. He is doing a great job, he is a fantastic driver, we’ve created a really good relationship and I think he would fit really well with Williams for our future as well and I think if he believes in our future there might be a chance to keep him.”
However, Russell’s contract ends at the end of 2021, and there may be space at Mercedes if Lewis Hamilton does not extend his contract – or if the team choose not to retain Valtteri Bottas for a sixth season.
Capito added that the Mercedes-backed Williams driver’s future is still at the whim of the defending champions.
“I think that you know George is a Mercedes driver for many years so I don’t think they will let him go,” said Capito. “We will see. We’ve got time to talk about drivers. We are not in a need now to discuss that.”
Russell and his team mate Nicholas Latifi are sporting special helmet designs this weekend as the team celebrate their 750th Grand Prix, with a one-off livery to boot, in Monaco.