Wolff: Delaying 2022 driver choice until winter was "wind-up"

Mercedes Formula 1 team boss Toto Wolff says comments he made suggesting he could delay making a 2022 driver choice until the winter were a "wind-up".

Wolff: Delaying 2022 driver choice until winter was "wind-up"

Wolff had said in an interview provided to media by the FIA that it was possible for the world champion team to delay making a final call on whether or not to retain Valtteri Bottas.

Asked about the timing of a second driver decision if Lewis Hamilton was definitely staying, Wolff had indicated that the team was in no rush.

After giving a cheeky first response about waiting until ‘somewhere in the winter’ he was then pushed to clarify if the team would really wait that long.

He responded: “It is highly possible because we have always been committed and loyal to the drivers. And this is what we're doing.”

Read Also:

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes W12

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes W12

Photo by: Jerry Andre / Motorsport Images

But speaking after qualifying for the French Grand Prix, Wolff revealed that he had actually been joking when he made the comments.

He suggested he had said it as a means of hoping to stop being asked repeated questions about the timing of the driver call.

“Yes, it was a wind-up," he said. "Because you get asked this question so, so often."

But although Wolff may not then wait until the winter, he has indicated that he still wants to take a bit more time to decide what to do because he needs to make the right call.

Asked about what the delay was, knowing full well what both Bottas and George Russell are capable of, Wolff said: “[They are] two drivers that still can have a great career in Formula 1.

“And I want to just see Valtteri's full potential this year. And continue to observe George in driving for Williams and handling this situation.”

Wolff welcomed the fact that Bottas had returned to form in France after an especially difficult Azerbaijan Grand Prix, as he said the Finn had everything in his hands to keep his seat for 2022.

“I’m very happy. I think he's in a good head space,” said Wolff. “We had a good discussion last week and he knows that it's all in his hand.

“And that's good news because he's in control of his destiny and it's only about driving this car fast.”

shares
comments

Related video

Mercedes: Low-downforce choice would have been slower for us
Previous article

Mercedes: Low-downforce choice would have been slower for us

Next article

Grand Prix qualifying results: Verstappen on pole for French GP

Grand Prix qualifying results: Verstappen on pole for French GP
Load comments
The lessons F1 can take from the Masi "souk" deal criticisms Prime

The lessons F1 can take from the Masi "souk" deal criticisms

As Formula 1 heads to its Abu Dhabi season finale, the FIA and race director Michael Masi are under increased scrutiny, with radio messages broadcast during last weekend's race prompting discussion and controversy. But what can they learn from the Saudi Arabia debacle?

The line Verstappen finally crossed in F1's first Jeddah race Prime

The line Verstappen finally crossed in F1's first Jeddah race

OPINION: Max Verstappen has made the 2021 Formula 1 championship. He’s taken the fight to the all-conquering Mercedes squad and its dominant champion, produced driving displays few can match. But he’s been on a controversial course too, and finally crossed a particular line in Jeddah

Why thrilling Jeddah F1 circuit needs to be safer Prime

Why thrilling Jeddah F1 circuit needs to be safer

OPINION: Saudi Arabia's new F1 circuit delivered a memorable first event, although not necessarily for all the right reasons. In the wake of the chaotic race, drivers voiced their concerns about the track but small changes could make significant improvements ahead of a return in four months.

The long-term F1 vision causing Haas’s short-term pain Prime

The long-term F1 vision causing Haas’s short-term pain

From ranking as one of the most impressive new teams to join the Formula 1 grid, Haas’s stock has plummeted along with its on-track performances over the past two seasons. Everything now hangs on whether its reforged alliance with Ferrari can deliver a better car – and whether its rookie drivers can set aside their quarrels. Oleg Karpov asks if any of these goals are achievable…

Formula 1
Dec 8, 2021
Saudi Arabian Grand Prix Driver Ratings Prime

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix Driver Ratings

An ill-tempered Saudi Grand Prix made Formula 1 more soap opera than sporting spectacle at times, but there were some strong performances up and down the field on the world championship's first visit to Jeddah

Formula 1
Dec 6, 2021
How the Jeddah F1 race became a one-sitting Netflix drama series Prime

How the Jeddah F1 race became a one-sitting Netflix drama series

The inaugural Saudi Arabian Grand Prix was a race packed full of incident as Formula 1 2021's title contenders repeatedly clashed on track. Lewis Hamilton won out over Max Verstappen to level the scores heading into next weekend's Abu Dhabi finale, as Jeddah turned F1 into a drama series

Formula 1
Dec 6, 2021
The impressive attitude that earned Albon his second F1 chance Prime

The impressive attitude that earned Albon his second F1 chance

Dropped by Red Bull last season, Alexander Albon has fought back into a Formula 1 seat with Williams. ALEX KALINAUCKAS explains what Albon has done to earn the place soon to be vacated by the highly rated George Russell

Formula 1
Dec 5, 2021
The factors that could negate Red Bull's practice gap to Mercedes Prime

The factors that could negate Red Bull's practice gap to Mercedes

Mercedes led the way in practice for Formula 1’s first race in Jeddah, where Red Bull was off the pace on both single-lap and long runs. But, if Max Verstappen can reverse the results on Saturday, factors familiar in motorsport’s main electric single-seater category could be decisive in another close battle with Lewis Hamilton...

Formula 1
Dec 4, 2021