Wolff “wouldn’t want to burn” George Russell with Mercedes seat

07-08-2019 13:04
by Bevan Youl
Wolff “wouldn’t want to burn” George Russell with Mercedes seat

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says that he “wouldn’t want to burn” George Russell by offering him a seat at Mercedes for 2020 as it would be “too early” for him in his Formula 1 career.

A lot of speculation has surround Valtteri Bottas the past few weeks as to whether his will be replaced or kept at Mercedes after his contract ends this season.
The Silver Arrows currently have Esteban Ocon as their reserve driver and looking for a seat next year, but no decision has been made as of yet.
Williams intend to keep Russell next year and Wolff has shut down any talk of the young British driver joining Mercedes as driving next to Lewis Hamilton would be a lot of pressure.

Wolff said to Motorsport.com: “I don’t think you are given the possibility to learn in a Mercedes.
“Because you’re being put in a car that is able to win races and championships, in a high pressure environment, and I think it can go terribly wrong for a young driver that has the talent to become a World Champion if he’s thrown into that environment next to the best driver of his generation, who has been with us for seven years.

“And I wouldn’t want to burn George.

“I think it would come too early, and on top of that I try to be respectful to all contracts we sign, and we signed a contract, we knew what we were doing with Williams, and this is where he’s going to learn.”

The Austrian does admit that there can be exceptions sometimes, such as Max Verstappen being promoted to Red Bull at the age of 18 from Toro Rosso.

“I think you’ve got to consider that these guys come into F1 at a very young age,” Wolff added.

“And there are exceptions to the norm, such as Max Verstappen, who was given the environment at Toro Rosso to learn, and to make mistakes, and even at Red Bull was given the room to make mistakes.

“It’s impressive to see his progression in all kinds of aspects, as a personality – there’s not one bad word about Honda, only good words about his team, the commitment to the team, and that is absolutely the right behaviour of a driver, I wouldn’t expect anything else.

“But he was also given the possibility, even though he’s extremely talented and well developed by his environment, to learn, to settle your strengths at Red Bull, and the Toro Rosso situation.”

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