Wolff: Mercedes won’t play ‘musical chairs’ with its drivers

Toto Wolff says Mercedes will not play “musical chairs” with its Formula 1 driver line-up, ruling out a mid-season switch to replace Valtteri Bottas with George Russell.

Wolff: Mercedes won’t play ‘musical chairs’ with its drivers

A report in the UK press earlier this week claimed that Bottas may not see out the season at Mercedes after a sluggish start to the year that has seen him fall 37 points behind team-mate Lewis Hamilton in the standings.

But the report was swiftly dismissed by Bottas, who called it “bullshit”, while Hamilton called on the Finn’s critics to “give him a break”, showing his support.

Mercedes F1 boss Wolff made clear that the team would never consider switching drivers mid-year, making reference to Red Bull’s two previous in-season changes.

“Unless he gets flu and can’t drive, he’s going to be in that car,” Wolff said of Bottas in an interview on Sky Sports F1.

“I see no reason to change. These guys over there [Red Bull] like to play musical chairs. So no change expected.

“If you are not happy with your wife, and you start already to look for other ones, it’s not going to improve the relationship.

“I try to work on the relationship with my driver, and achieve the best result for him before starting to flirt with somebody else.”

Wolff later added: “We have never done that. Obviously things can always change if for whatever reason, but it has not and was never our plan to do that. What is next year will be next year.”

Read Also:

Mercedes junior Russell has been widely tipped as a successor to either Bottas or Hamilton at the senior team after impressing in his F1 career to date with Williams.

Russell made a one-off appearance for Mercedes in Sakhir last year after Hamilton tested positive for COVID-19, and starred by qualifying second and almost winning the race.

Both Hamilton and Bottas are out of contract at the end of the year, but Hamilton has already hinted that he is keen to race in 2022.

But Wolff said it was “far too early” to discuss driver line-up plans for 2022, having previously said that Mercedes was yet to formally open talks with Hamilton over a new deal.

shares
comments

Related video

The inside story of Villeneuve's final F1 weekend

Previous article

The inside story of Villeneuve's final F1 weekend

Next article

What is behind McLaren's latest F1 upgrades

What is behind McLaren's latest F1 upgrades
Load comments
Why the end is nigh for F1’s most dependable design tool Prime

Why the end is nigh for F1’s most dependable design tool

Wind tunnel work forms the bedrock of aerodynamic development in Formula 1. But as Pat Symonds explains, advances in virtual research are signalling the end of these expensive and complicated relics.

Formula 1
Jun 13, 2021
Why Mosley’s legacy amounts to far more than tabloid rumour Prime

Why Mosley’s legacy amounts to far more than tabloid rumour

The newspapers, naturally, lingered over Max Mosley’s tainted family history and niche sexual practices. But this is to trivialise the legacy of a big beast of motor racing politics. Stuart Codling weighs the life of a man whose work for safety on both road and track has saved hundreds of thousands of lives, but whose penchant for cruelty remains problematic and polarising.

Formula 1
Jun 12, 2021
Why pragmatic Perez isn't fazed by no-nonsense Red Bull F1 culture Prime

Why pragmatic Perez isn't fazed by no-nonsense Red Bull F1 culture

Sergio Perez has spent most of his career labouring in Formula 1’s midfield, wondering whether he’d ever get another shot at the big time. Red Bull has handed him that chance and, although life at the top is tough, the Baku winner is doing all the right things to get on terms with Max Verstappen, says BEN ANDERSON

Formula 1
Jun 11, 2021
What the data tells us about the F1 2021 title fight Prime

What the data tells us about the F1 2021 title fight

Formula 1 has been tracking car performance using timing loops mounted every 200m around each circuit – to the extent that it was able to anticipate Ferrari’s 'surprise’ pole in Monaco. PAT SYMONDS explains what this means for this season and beyond

Formula 1
Jun 10, 2021
The weighty issue F1 needs to find a balance with Prime

The weighty issue F1 needs to find a balance with

OPINION: After consecutive street races with contrasting highlights, one theme stood out which has become a prevalent issue with modern Formula 1 cars. But is there a way to solve it or, at least, reach a happy middle ground to help all parties?

Formula 1
Jun 10, 2021
The changes behind a 'feel-good' F1 result in Baku Prime

The changes behind a 'feel-good' F1 result in Baku

OPINION: The Azerbaijan Grand Prix had elements that make Formula 1 really exciting – unpredictability and shock results. This resulted in heartbreak for several of the championship’s regular contenders and joy for others who rarely reach the ultimate limelight. And one of those on the Baku podium is riding a wave of form he’s keen to continue

Formula 1
Jun 9, 2021
The human cost to replacing Formula 1's cancelled rounds Prime

The human cost to replacing Formula 1's cancelled rounds

OPINION: With the global pandemic still lingering, Singapore's grand prix has been cancelled for 2021, with more looking likely to follow. Although Formula 1 has TV deals and profits to chase, retaining a 23-race calendar could be most harmful to those who sacrifice the most for the championship.

Formula 1
Jun 8, 2021
Azerbaijan Grand Prix Driver Ratings Prime

Azerbaijan Grand Prix Driver Ratings

An eventful weekend in Baku full of incident and drama lent the race result an unusual feel, as three drivers scored their first podiums of the year. But it wasn't the eventual race winner who scored top marks in our driver ratings

Formula 1
Jun 7, 2021