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Wolff to delay 2022 line-up decision?

NEWS STORY
23/08/2021

Having previously said that he expected to announce Mercedes 2022 line-up after the summer break, Toto Wolff has now said that it could be September before he makes the call.

Currently, the German team has two options, stick with Valtteri Bottas - Lewis Hamilton's preferred option - for a sixth season, or bring in some fresh blood in the form of George Russell.

Hamilton's preferences aside, the team appears to have a clear cut choice, but, according to Wolff the decision is not as clear cut as it might appear.

"We have to choose between the stability of Valtteri and the talent of George, where the future lies," he told Bild at the weekend.

"I want the topic settled in September so both of them can position themselves properly for the coming season," he added.

The Austrian has made clear that whatever his decision, the driver who loses out on the Mercedes seat will still have "attractive" options.

"George and Valtteri would have - whatever we decide - great options," he insisted. "They would have probably more than one option to stay in F1, and race in F1 with an attractive outlook.

"Most teams see themselves as challenger teams," he added. "They expect a big step to be done next year because of the cost cap that is now valid for everybody."

Other than Bottas and Russell, in winning the Formula E championship for Mercedes, Nyck de Vries has thrown his cap in the ring.

This weekend sees the F1 title fight resume, and Wolff is under no illusions that it will be a hard fought battle right up until the end of the season.

"Red Bull are a bit faster on paper," he admits, "but we will fight until the end. We have to,," he adds, "because this championship will go until the end."

Asked about his own future, Wolff, who had previously been linked with the F1 CEO role subsequently given to Stefano Domenicali, admitted: "I thought for a year about going back to the financial world. But we decided together at Mercedes that F1 is not just a marketing platform that we want to use for a short time, we want to shape an era.

"Since I own 33% of the team shares, I will definitely be there. But that doesn't necessarily mean I have to be team boss."

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1. Posted by kenji, 25/08/2021 0:35

"@ Spindoctor...Therein lies the major conundrum, having two WC's with opposing end games. The conflicting championships ensure that a degree of race fixing plays a major part and as such should be seriously attended to. The proof here is that, for example, would you accept as legal two horses from the same stable being manipulated for a pre set result in the same race? That is an indictable offense. I do somehow prefer to see something along the lines of WEC endurance races where the individual drivers all get the same award when they win. A WC with two WC drivers. Combine the titles and then we'd see real team work as a WC title would only be achieved when drivers worked together for the best team. I'm sure that this would never fly unfortunately as change is never welcome as we have witnessed time and time again. "

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2. Posted by Spindoctor, 23/08/2021 15:36

"Hamilton \ Russell would most li8kely be the most effective pairing in terms of outright speed in a well-developed fast car.
But the new Regulations pose a bit of a conundrum, as notwithstanding his speed Russell is a relatively inexperienced driver & something of an unknown quantity (to Team Mercedes) development-wise. Bottas OTOH is fully embedded in the team and the qualities of his developmental feedback familiar to them. Like Hamilton his views of the new car would be contextualized in a familiar way & provide a relatively fixed (or at least known) "reference".

"

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3. Posted by kenji, 23/08/2021 13:08

"@ Endre...Yes...you may well be right however what would they do with Russell? They have Verstappen who is their big big [ cheese ] investment for now and the future. Would they give Russell the exact same treatment as Verstappen if they released Perez? Would they dump Tsunoda and let Russell spend a couple of years at AT with Gasly...now that would be interesting. But put him in the RB next to Verstappen... Never in a million years. Why do you think Ricciardo left? I'll give you a hint...Baku. Verstappen is to Red Bull what Hamilton is to Mercedes IMO. Both of them are a protected species. The other point is that people bang on about Russell as the next 'redeemer with metaphysical talents' to strut the stage, based on one race! Let's just hold the horses there for a while. Dessert is a way off ATM. By the way Endre...I totally agree with your final sentiment...we are of like minds."

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4. Posted by Endre, 23/08/2021 12:44

"@kenji I see it quite differently. Red Bull has clearly stated their intention to sign Russel if Mercedes does not retain him. Conveniently there is no extension on Perez' contract yet either and I bet the second Red Bull seat will not be announced before Mercedes unless it is Russel. Now why would Mercedes be risking to lose a world champion material they could potentially count on for the next 10-15 years? This being said, I hope they would be dumb enough to do this, I can't stand Toto & his gang."

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5. Posted by kenji, 23/08/2021 12:04

"We keep on hearing about this and that but nothing substantial at all. I still very much feel that Wolff would be loathe to change the status quo given that they are only coat of varnish from setting an all time record. That surely must be the prime goal for Mercedes given the time and the massive billion dollar investments they have made. The only way I see this working in favour of Russell is to put the 'fix' in. Surely they would make any contract conditional that he does not challenge Hamilton until they say so. I may be totally wrong here and Russell will get the drive and blow Hamilton into the weeds right from the get go leaving Hamiton to retire without that all important record...and Mercedes to blame it all on. I'm assuming here that Verstappen will win this year!!!"

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6. Posted by Max Noble, 23/08/2021 10:33

"Make them sweat Toto! - Dang a race to the bottom on driver retainers for those two… :-) Latest to join the ranks of “pay drivers” anyone…?"

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