Williams apologise for 'confusion' as Russell keeps seat over Perez

By Ben Spratt 30 October 2020 2
Williams apologise for 'confusion' as Russell keeps seat over Perez

George Russell and Nicholas Latifi will drive for Williams again next season despite links to Sergio Perez, the team announced on Friday.

Russell and Latifi were each confirmed for their 2021 seats in July and are under contract, but the team's subsequent takeover by Dorilton Capital prompted speculation they could move for Perez, who has been replaced at Racing Point - soon to be Aston Martin - by Sebastian Vettel.

Mercedes junior driver Russell has spent the past two years with Williams in Formula One and insisted last week he was not concerned due to his existing deal.

But Mercedes chief Toto Wolff said his team "wouldn't be happy" if one of their top prospects was jettisoned.

Russell added "I know Mercedes and Toto have my back" as he suggested "all this speculation has probably been fed by the Perez camp".

There was no need for any Silver Arrows intervention, however, after Williams apologised and reconfirmed their line-up.

Interim Williams boss Simon Roberts, who had previously refused to be drawn on Russell's future, said: "I probably caused a bit of confusion last week; I'm sorry about that.

"We didn't really want to comment on the driver position but, as George said, Claire [Williams] 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, who was considered more vulnerable than Latifi, posted on Twitter: "Glad that's all cleared up! Now let's get cracking...

"Thanks for the support guys. The show goes on!"

He heads to this weekend's two-day Emilia Romagna Grand Prix having finished 14th in Portugal last time out.

"I really enjoyed it," Russell said after that race. "It's probably the best race I've had in F1 to date."

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