Claire Williams has confirmed that she “feels pressure” having George Russell’s future in her hands, as he targets a seat at Mercedes.
Russell joined Williams last year, and while he was rooted to the back of the grid in a car that was by far the slowest of the field, he still showed signs that he has the potential to drive with a big team in the future.
The 22-year-old is also a Mercedes junior driver and naturally has his eyes on joining the world champions in the future, with Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas both out of contract at the end of the year.
In Thursday’s FIA press conference, Russell hinted that he would like to drive for Mercedes next season if a seat arose, but that his future lies in Williams’ hands as long as he is under contract with the Grove-based team.
Williams has always maintained that both drivers are under contract until the end of 2021 and that she will do all she can to keep both Russell and Latifi at the team until the end of their contracts, but in Friday’s FIA Team Principal press conference, the Williams Deputy Team Principal admitted that wants her team to be the ones to provide him with a competitive car.
“I feel quite a lot of pressure, George’s future being in my hands.” explained Williams.
“George is on a three-year contract with the team, he’s in his second year and he’s done a fantastic job for Williams.
“Everybody knows how difficult it was for all of us last year, not least for George, and he always held his head up high and he always went out there with an incredibly positive outlook, even in moments that were difficult for him and we’re incredibly appreciative of that at Williams.
“George is a great talent. He’s clearly got huge ambitions and we want to be able to give him the machinery that he can get out there and score points with, but at the moment we’ve got two driver contracted to the team for 2021 and I’m reluctant to say anything else on the matter.”