Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff says the future at Williams of its protégé George Russell rests entirely with the British squad's management amid rumors surrounding Sergio Perez's talks with the team.
In July, Williams extended into 2021 the contracts of both Russell and Nicholas Latifi. But the team's recent takeover by new owner Dorilton Capital coupled with Perez's availability has led to questions about the future of the Grove-based outfit's line-up for next season.
The outgoing Racing Point driver and his array of sponsors are an attractive proposition for Williams. However, Latifi's position with the team is considered to be safe given the funding he brings to Williams, leaving Russell potentially vulnerable to being shoved out by Perez.
On Friday in Portugal, acting Williams team boss Simon Roberts refused to confirm whether Russell and Latifi's deals for 2021 are rock solid, a reserve that only added to the ongoing speculation.
Roberts did however state that "nothing has changed" regarding Williams' driver plans for 2021.
Queried on Russell's potential fate, Wolff said:
"In the end, it’s Williams’s decision. We all know about George’s capabilities. He is a star of the future who remains unbeaten by his teammates in Formula 1.
"Sometimes he is able to show highlights in a car that is not competitive at the moment. And I think he’s a great team asset.
"But there’s obviously a financial reality that I cannot judge at all, and it’s absolutely at the discretion of the new owners and Simon to decide what they want to do going forward."
Wolff confirmed that Mercedes had been in contact with Williams regarding Russell's situation.
"We’ve touched base about George but at the end, like I said, it’s their call," said the Austrian.