Williams boss shuts down driver change speculation

George Russell

Williams Acting Team Principal Simon Roberts has shut down speculation George Russell might be replaced by Sergio Perez in 2021.

As revealed by Speedcafe.com, earlier this year the team announced Russell would continue with the team into next year with fellow incumbent Nicholas Latifi of Canada.

However, the team went through an ownership change shortly after that announcement.

In recent weeks there have been suggestions outgoing Racing Point driver Sergio Perez might replace the Mercedes affiliated Russell.

At last week’s Portuguese Grand Prix, Roberts did little to alleviate those rumours, repeatedly stating he didn’t want to talk about the team’s line-up.

On the eve of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix in Imola though, Roberts has put those rumours to bed.

“I probably caused a bit of confusion last week, I’m sorry about that,” said Roberts.

“We didn’t really want to comment on the driver position but as George said, Claire made the announcement earlier this year.

“Nothing’s changed, and this is our driver line-up for this year and next year. We’re very happy with them and we’re looking forward to working with them in a continued way.”

Russell said he was confident his seat wasn’t in jeopardy.

“Obviously it’s always nice to have stability,” said the 22-year-old.

“It’s never nice to hear any speculation that your job is potentially up for grabs, but nevertheless, I was confident in what I could perform on track.

“Ultimately I had to do the talking on the track and as Simon said, I was confident nothing would change moving into 2021 even with all speculation going around.”

Russell heads into this weekend’s race at Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari still searching for his first point of the year.

The Briton said he remains optimistic about the team’s future despite recent struggles.

“We are realistic,” he said.

“Rome wasn’t built in a day and we’ve come from so far behind. I’ve actually been very pleasantly surprised with the progress we have made this year and how we are so much in the fight with Alfa (Romeo) and Haas, and hopefully moving forward next year even closer into the midfield and potentially even battling into the midfield.

“My goal is just to keep performing at my absolute best, keep improving. I want to be the best, I want to be fighting for championships and wins in the future and I know I need to keep improving if I want to be doing that.”

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