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Wolff urges Williams to be bold with driver choice

  • Published on 27 Dec 2017 14:09
  • comments 7
  • By: Fergal Walsh

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has pressed Williams to be bold when picking its new driver. The Grove-based squad are searching for Felipe Massa's replacement, with Sergey Sirorkin and Robert Kubica believed to be the leading contenders.

Massa raced his last Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi last month, waving goodbye to 15 years in Formula 1. Williams tested both Sirotkin and Kubica at a post-season test, and later revealed that an announcement would not be made until January. Wolff has urged the team to bring in "the next superstar", and develop them into a top driver.

“If I were Williams today I would be bold and would put a George Russell or a Lando Norris in the car or [Charles] Leclerc," he told BBC Sport. "One of these really bright talented kids who have won championships in the past to develop the next superstar. But having said that there is a financial reality they live in and they have to find the right compromise."

Mercedes wanted to supply McLaren in 2018

Wolff also revealed to a separate source that Mercedes was interested in a deal supply engines to McLaren next year. McLaren ended its partnership with Honda at the end of the 2017 season, and will run with Renault units next year.

However, Wolff admitted that Mercedes seriously pondered entering a deal with the Woking squad: "We wanted to give McLaren an engine, the problem is that it dragged on for a long time and we just didn't have the structure in place and the capacity to supply them an engine for 2018," Wolff told ESPN. "It was simply too late."

With McLaren and Mercedes holding a 19-year partnership from 1995 to 2014, Wolff hasn't ruled out the possibility of a future reunion: "You must never rule out supplying anybody in the future and this is why McLaren or anyone else in the future could be a partner." 


Fergal Walsh

Replies (7)

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  • Williams doesn't do bold.
    Also, shocking that Mercedes was willing to supply McLaren.

    • + 0
    • Dec 27 2017 - 14:31
  • Kean

    Posts: 692

    I'm with Toto on this one, seems like Williams are choosing between different drivers that bring sponsorship, and that there are significantly faster candidates out there without backing that would likely perform better, such as Rosenqvist and Wehrlein. The way they're heading now I wouldn't be surprised if they build a better car than Haas and Sauber, but end up behind them in the championship because of their drivers. I do, however, gotta call bullshit on the 2nd statement, no way were they ready to supply McLaren in 2018. If so McLaren would have announced that they'd dump Honda alot sooner than they did. I think it took so long for a decision because they were choosing between Honda and Renault, and it was a tough choice.

    • + 0
    • Dec 27 2017 - 14:36
  • I call bullshit. If McLaren had as little as a whiff of the Mercedes unit, they'd pounced on it, but they didnt. Honestly now, You are saying McLaren preferred to wait it out with Honda and continued talks with Renault, but not with you? I mean, McLaren's made some silly decisions in the recent decade, but not even they'd be so stupid as to not immediately pounce on getting a Mercedes deal. Interested in supplying McLaren, you were not.

    As for Williams making bold decisions: lets not throw stones inside of glass halos now Toto. We all know you'll make about as bold driver decisions as my haircut as long as you have dear Hammy on board.

    • + 0
    • Dec 27 2017 - 15:31
    • Pauli

      Posts: 140

      First rumor about McLaren engine switch was that McLaren had queried Mercedes if they could supply engines. I think that was late spring or early summer. That can be quite late to hire people to build and support 3rd customer engine and maybe buy some manufacturing equipment. But if they really wanted to do it they could have done it.
      That makes me think they more like evaluate that supply decision might be slightly positive for image but with a big risk if McLaren would develop clearly better chassis. The minor positive image chance probably wasn't worth the risk and required investment. That doesn't then require a big leap to Wolf claim that schedule prevented them from supplying engines instead of high risk factor to the image value.

      • + 0
      • Dec 27 2017 - 16:22
    • Yeah exactly, McLaren asked Mercedes. If you ask someone about it, it means you are ready to kick off the process, ready to ditch your previous supplier and sign a new deal. It wouldnt make sense to ask and then prolong the process so that you lose the chance. Its either a sign of Mercedes lying about their willingness or a sign of McLaren's incompetence.

      • + 0
      • Dec 27 2017 - 16:59
  • "Wolff has urged the team to bring in "the next superstar", and develop them into a top driver."

    How comes, you write 'them', @Fergal Walsh? A superstar is just one driver, isn't it? Not a couple of them. Besides, there's only one seat vacant at Williams, not two.

    • + 0
    • Dec 27 2017 - 17:57
  • boudy

    Posts: 1,168

    Jeez. Does he have a link with wehrlein? This is just not in Williams their interest. They need a driver that helps with the funding of their team. If Williams would be able to bring in a driver just based on performance than they would have done so already. Williams needs to make sure that they make enough money to be sustainable. Mercedes doesn't have this money issue and as far as I can understand at this point Williams isn't there to provide a new driver for Mercedes.

    • + 0
    • Dec 27 2017 - 23:08

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