Russell 'buzzing' to make Mercedes switch after Bottas joins Alfa Romeo

By Sports Desk September 07, 2021

George Russell said he is "absolutely buzzing" for next season's Formula One world championship after he agreed a move to Mercedes.

It was confirmed on September 6 that Valtteri Bottas would be ending his Mercedes stint after five seasons with the team, joining Alfa Romeo for 2022 on a multi-year deal.

Bottas has served as the second-seat driver to Lewis Hamilton, helping Mercedes to four constructors' titles.

However, with the Finn now joining Alfa in the wake of Kimi Raikkonen's impending retirement, Mercedes have signed up Hamilton's fellow Briton Russell from Williams.

"Looking ahead to next season, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't absolutely buzzing," Russell said in a statement released by Mercedes.

"It's a huge opportunity and one I want to grab with both hands. But I'm under no illusions as to the scale of the challenge; it's going to be a steep learning curve.

"For now, though, I have nine more races as a Williams driver, and I want to make sure they are the best nine of my time with the team.

"Then, and only then, can I turn my attention to 2022."

The 23-year-old, who has signed a long-term contract with Mercedes, has spent the last three seasons with Williams and has achieved one podium finish in his Formula One career to date.

However, that came in contentious circumstances at this season's Belgian Grand Prix as Russell was awarded second after only two laps had been completed in sodden conditions.

When Hamilton returned a positive positive coronavirus test before the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix Russell stepped in to replace him, finishing ninth.

Russell revealed he is excited to become a team-mate of Hamilton's.

"I've looked up to Lewis since I was in go-karts," Russell said of the seven-time F1 champion.

"The opportunity to learn from someone who has become a role model both on and off the track can only benefit me as a driver, a professional, and a human being."

 

Russell was on the Mercedes young driver programme in 2017 and won that season's GP3 Series championship before he became Formula Two champion the following year.

Mercedes team principal Toto Woolf claimed Russell and Hamilton will provide a formidable team over the next few seasons.

"We are very happy to confirm that George will have the opportunity to take the next step in his career and join Mercedes," Woolf added.

"He has been a winner in every racing category – and the past three seasons with Williams have given us a taste of what the future could hold for him in F1.

"Now, it is our challenge together to help him continue learning within our environment and alongside Lewis, the greatest F1 driver of all time.

"I am confident that as their relationship grows, they will form a strong team and deliver for Mercedes on and off the track in the years to come.

"It's a weight off our shoulders to have our plans for 2022 clear and announced."

Related items

  • Lewis Hamilton’s Ferrari debut to be in Australia as 2025 calendar is confirmed Lewis Hamilton’s Ferrari debut to be in Australia as 2025 calendar is confirmed

    Lewis Hamilton will make his Ferrari debut in Australia after Formula One’s bosses announced next season’s record-equalling 24-round calendar.

    Hamilton, 39, is set to realise a childhood dream when he swaps Mercedes for Ferrari in 2025, with the seven-time world champion’s opening race to take place in Melbourne on March 16.

    It will mark the first time since 2019 that the F1 season has kicked off at Albert Park after the following year’s scheduled opener was cancelled at the last minute amid the outbreak of coronavirus.

    The 2025 campaign is due to end in Abu Dhabi on December 7, with the British Grand Prix – starting the first of its new 10-year contract extension at Silverstone – on July 6.

    Triple world champion Max Verstappen has been vocal in his criticism at the ever-expanding length of the F1 schedule.

    But for next season, at least, there will be no new additions to the calendar.

    The campaign has started in Bahrain for the past four seasons, but with Ramadan staged throughout March in 2025, the rounds in the Gulf kingdom, and in Saudi Arabia, will be pushed back to April.

    F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali said: “2025 will be a special year as we celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Formula One World Championship, and it’s that legacy and experience that allows us to deliver such a strong calendar.

    “Once again, we’ll visit 24 incredible venues around the world, delivering top-class racing, hospitality, and entertainment, which will be enjoyed by millions of fans worldwide.

    “I would also like to pay tribute to our F1 teams and drivers, the heroes of our sport, and our fans around the world for continuing to follow Formula One with such incredible enthusiasm.”

    After four rounds of the current season, Verstappen holds a 13-point championship lead in his bid to secure four consecutive world titles. The next race takes place in Shanghai a week on Sunday.

    Full 2025 F1 calendar

    March 16 – Australian Grand Prix (Melbourne)
    March 23 – Chinese Grand Prix (Shanghai)
    April 6 – Japanese Grand Prix (Suzuka)
    April 13 – Bahrain Grand Prix (Sakhir)
    April 20 – Saudi Arabian Grand Prix (Jeddah)
    May 4 – Miami Grand Prix (Miami)
    May 18 – Emilia Romagna Grand Prix (Imola)
    May 25 – Monaco Grand Prix (Monte Carlo)
    June 1 – Spanish Grand Prix (Barcelona)
    June 15 – Canadian Grand Prix (Montreal)
    June 29 – Austrian Grand Prix (Spielberg)
    July 6 – British Grand Prix (Silverstone)
    July 27 – Belgian Grand Prix (Spa-Francorchamps)
    August 3 – Hungarian Grand Prix (Hungaroring)
    August 31 – Dutch Grand Prix (Zandvoort)
    September 7 – Italian Grand Prix (Monza)
    September 21 – Azerbaijan Grand Prix (Baku)
    October 5 – Singapore Grand Prix (Marina Bay)
    October 19 – United States Grand Prix (Austin)
    October 26 – Mexico City Grand Prix (Mexico City)
    November 9 – Brazilian Grand Prix (Interlagos)
    November 22 – Las Vegas Grand Prix (Las Vegas)
    November 30 – Qatar Grand Prix (Lusail)
    December 7 – Abu Dhabi Grand Prix (Yas Marina)

  • Fernando Alonso to remain with Aston Martin until end of 2026 season Fernando Alonso to remain with Aston Martin until end of 2026 season

    Fernando Alonso will remain in Formula One beyond his 45th birthday after agreeing a new multi-season deal with Aston Martin.

    Double world champion Alonso, who will be 43 in July, had been linked with Mercedes and Red Bull – as replacements for Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen respectively.

    But Aston Martin announced on Thursday that Alonso, whose current deal had been due to expire at the end of the year, has agreed new terms to remain with them until at least the end of 2026.

    Both Mercedes, searching for a replacement for the Ferrari-bound Hamilton, and Red Bull – with Verstappen said to be unsettled at the scandal-hit Red Bull team – had been tracking Alonso’s next move.

    And Alonso admitted: “I did speak with other people. It is normal when you enter negotiations that you need to balance the market and listen to everybody else.

    “I will not be specific as to which team I spoke with because this is not important. When teams are searching for a driver, they touch base with everyone just to know their position. They always want to know everything and for me it was the same.

    “Maybe more time was needed (by them), while with Aston Martin there was a clear desire to work together so that is why it was very easy to stay. I felt the most wanted by them. All the other conversations were just light, and never came to any conclusions.

    “I will not wait to see if there is something happening and I can jump in. I will dictate my destiny, whether that is for good or for bad.”

    Alonso will this season become the first driver to take part in 400 grands prix, and his new deal is set to make him comfortably the oldest F1 driver of the modern era.

    Michael Schumacher was 43 when he retired for a second time in 2012, while Kimi Raikkonen was a year younger when he walked away from the sport in 2021.

    “I love driving too much that I cannot stop at the moment,” added Alonso. “I breathe Formula One, I live Formula One, and I train and eat to drive Formula One cars.

    “The moment hasn’t arrived that I need to change my lifestyle. I will not be happy sitting at home and watching Formula One races because I still feel I should be there.

    “If one day I feel I am not motivated, or I am not in good shape, or I am not fast and sharp, I will be the first one to raise my hand and we will find a solution with Aston Martin.

    “But I don’t see that coming for the next few years. Japan (on Sunday) was one of my best races ever, and that happened five days ago. Lewis will also be 40 in January, so at least I will not be the only one next year who is over 40.”

    Alonso took the last of his two world titles in 2006, and has not won a race in more than a decade.

    But the former Ferrari and McLaren man is still considered as one of the brightest stars of the F1 field.

    Last year, in his first season at Aston Martin, he helped to transform the British team from also-rans to frontrunners. He took eight podiums and finished fourth in the championship.

    Although Aston Martin have not been able to maintain that form, there is hope that the next major regulation change in 2026, which will see them partner with Honda – the Japanese manufacturer that has powered Red Bull to its recent successes – will allow Alonso to compete at the sharp end of the grid once more.

    Alonso continued: “We have achieved so many highs here in such a short space of time. It is probably unprecedented in Formula One.

    “This is only the beginning of the journey, so it could not be the end for me and Aston Martin.”

  • Fernando Alonso signs new ‘multi-year’ deal with Aston Martin Fernando Alonso signs new ‘multi-year’ deal with Aston Martin

    Fernando Alonso will remain with Aston Martin beyond this season after signing a new ‘multi-year’ deal with the British-based Formula One team.

    Double world champion Alonso, who will be 43 in July, had been linked with Mercedes and Red Bull – as possible replacements for Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen respectively.

    But Aston Martin announced on Thursday that Alonso, whose current deal had been due to expire at the end of the year, has agreed a contract extension.

    “I am here to stay,” said Alonso via an Aston Martin press release. The team did not mention the length of the new deal.

    Team principal Mike Krack said: “Securing Fernando’s long-term future with Aston Martin is fantastic news.

    “We have built a strong working relationship over the last 18 months and we share the same determination to see this project succeed.

    “We have been in constant dialogue over the last few months and Fernando has been true to his word: when he decided he wanted to continue racing, he talked to us first. Fernando has shown he believes in us, and we believe in him.

    “Fernando is hungry for success, driving better than ever, is fitter than ever, and is completely dedicated to making Aston Martin a competitive force.

    “This multi-year agreement with Fernando takes us into 2026 when we begin our works power unit partnership with Honda. We look forward to creating more incredible memories and achieving further success together.”

    Alonso, who has won 32 races, will this season become the first driver to take part in 400 grands prix, and his latest deal will take him beyond his 45th birthday.

    Both Mercedes, searching for a replacement for the Ferrari-bound Hamilton, and Red Bull – with Verstappen said to be unsettled at the scandal-hit Red Bull team – had been tracking Alonso’s next move.

    But the Spaniard will enter into at least a third season with Aston Martin, with ambitious owner Lawrence Stroll determined to turn the Silverstone-based team into championship contenders.

    Alonso took the last of his two world titles in 2006, and has not won a race in more than a decade.

    But he is still considered as one of the stars of the F1 field, and last year helped to transform Aston Martin from also-rans to frontrunners. He took eight podiums and finished fourth in the championship.

    After the opening four rounds of the new campaign, Alonso is eighth in the standings.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.