JULY 20, 2021
Wolff hints Bottas axe decision already made
Toto Wolff has hinted that Mercedes' decision about the identity of Lewis Hamilton's 2022 teammate is "already made".
The reigning champion team's boss has already said that if Valtteri Bottas is replaced by George Russell next year, he will help the Finn to find an alternate seat.
"We'll see what decision we make - or have already made but not yet said," Wolff said in an interview with RTL.
"Unfortunately I have no news, but to tell someone 'That's it' is one of the most difficult discussions I can have. It's something I would rather not do," he added.
"But although it is incredibly difficult, it is my role that I also have to have unpleasant conversations," said Wolff, who appointed Bottas to replace Nico Rosberg in 2017.
However, he said one of those difficult decisions may now be looming large, especially "if I think it's the right thing for the team".
When asked about 23-year-old Russell, the Mercedes junior who currently drives so impressively for Williams, Wolff said: "He definitely has what it takes to be world champion.
"But you have to build him up carefully - which is what we did."
And no matter the content of any forthcoming announcement, Wolff says he will look after both Russell and Bottas.
"It is important that they both have a future," he said, "and that we discuss with them what the alternatives are."