Wolff: Mercedes FE drivers "deserve to be in F1" amid Williams links

Toto Wolff says Mercedes Formula E drivers Stoffel Vandoorne and Nyck de Vries both “deserve to be in Formula 1” amid links to a potentially vacant Williams seat in 2022.

Listen to this article

Amid speculation that George Russell will graduate from Williams to partner Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes next season, with current incumbent Valtteri Bottas linked to Alfa Romeo, 2019 FIA Formula 2 champion de Vries has been tipped as a potential replacement for Russell.

Fellow Mercedes F1 reserve driver Vandoorne has also entered the frame for the seat in a move that would see him reunite with new Williams CEO Jost Capito, with the pair known to get on well. The duo overlapped at McLaren Racing in 2016 prior to Capito parting ways with the Woking squad amid former chairman Ron Dennis, who hired the German, being put on gardening leave.

After potential moves for de Vries and Vandoorne gathered traction on social media last week, Mercedes motorsport boss Wolff told Motorsport.com he hoped “very much” for both drivers to find their way into F1.

Having attended the London E-Prix in which de Vries climbed from ninth to score second as Vandoorne moved up from 14th to seventh, Wolff said: "Both drivers have the talent and the work ethic and the intelligence to be in Formula 1. Both of them won the most important junior series [FIA Formula 2, formerly GP2 Series].

“Stoffel was thrown in a situation with McLaren that was difficult to handle back in the day. They both deserve to be Formula 1 and I would very much hope they can find their way back.”

Read Also:

Nyck de Vries, Mercedes Benz EQ, EQ Silver Arrow 02, Stoffel Vandoorne, Mercedes Benz EQ, EQ Silver Arrow 02

Nyck de Vries, Mercedes Benz EQ, EQ Silver Arrow 02, Stoffel Vandoorne, Mercedes Benz EQ, EQ Silver Arrow 02

Photo by: Simon Galloway / Motorsport Images

When asked if Wolff would be willing to let the drivers go despite the potential damage it would have to his company’s Formula E effort, he replied: “I'm really happy having them as our drivers in Formula E, I couldn't wish for anybody else. But I would never be in the way of any driver if they were to have the possibility of driving in Formula 1.”

Commenting on the links to the Williams set, de Vries told Motorsport.com: “I read that rumour too, and it was probably as much as a surprise to you as for me. I'm very happy with Mercedes and Formula E, and this is where I want to be succeeding.

“Whatever happens in the longer or mid-term future, I don't know.”

Vandoorne's F1 shot was dinted by finishing 16th for McLaren Racing across the 2016 and ’17 seasons when he was teammate to Fernando Alonso. The Belgian was in the frame to replace Hamilton for the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix when the seven-time world champion tested positive for COVID-19, with the drive eventually given to Russell.

Asked if Vandoorne reckoned he was owed a favour by Wolff and Mercedes for that occasion, he said: “I don’t think that way, to be honest. Formula 1, from my side, I've had I've had the opportunity to be there already.

“I've been there with McLaren, not in the best conditions, let's say. For me it's not like a must, it's not an obsession, like I have to be there.

“Things are on the up [at Williams] but it's not in the back of my mind.”

shares
comments

Related video

Masi: F1 should be "proud" of way first sprint weekend worked
Previous article

Masi: F1 should be "proud" of way first sprint weekend worked

Next article

How different will the real 2022 cars be from F1's latest model?

How different will the real 2022 cars be from F1's latest model?
Singapore Grand Prix Driver Ratings 2022 Prime

Singapore Grand Prix Driver Ratings 2022

A testing return to the Singapore Grand Prix in tricky conditions created plenty of hazards and mistakes for the Formula 1 drivers to fall into. That partly explains a number of low scores, including from a handful of high profile runners, allowing others to take a starring role under the floodlights

The two key contributors to Leclerc's defeat to Perez in Singapore Prime

The two key contributors to Leclerc's defeat to Perez in Singapore

In a marathon Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix, Sergio Perez’s victory was only assured hours after the race due to a stewards investigation. Throughout the contest the Red Bull driver impressively held off Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc in changing conditions to see the Mexican pull out enough of an advantage to negate his post-race penalty

Why is Oscar Piastri F1's most sought-after rookie? Prime

Why is Oscar Piastri F1's most sought-after rookie?

The Australian rising star is fast, consistent, confident, adaptable and has shown excellent racecraft, but there’s already a taint to his reputation. That hasn’t stopped him becoming the hottest property in this year’s F1 driver market and why McLaren moved fast to snap up the 21-year-old

Formula 1
Sep 30, 2022
The unintended benefit that F1's new engine rules era will deliver Prime

The unintended benefit that F1's new engine rules era will deliver

Formula 1's incoming engine rules shake-up has multiple targets. But it may also solve what has been a bone of contention since the hybrids arrived in 2014. The new plan will allow the series to pump up the volume

Formula 1
Sep 29, 2022
How de Vries made himself impossible to ignore for a belated F1 chance Prime

How de Vries made himself impossible to ignore for a belated F1 chance

Nyck de Vries appeared to have missed his opportunity to break into Formula 1 as he was passed over for more exciting talents who have now become frontrunners and title fighters. But after catching the eye outside of the F1 sphere, before his stunning impromptu grand prix debut in Italy, will it lead to a delayed full-time race seat?

Formula 1
Sep 29, 2022
Can Hamilton produce another Singapore magic moment? Prime

Can Hamilton produce another Singapore magic moment?

The Singapore Grand Prix has, explains Ben Edwards, played an important role in Lewis Hamilton’s Formula 1 career. As the series returns to the Marina Bay Street Circuit for the first time in three years, he faces the latest challenge with an underperforming Mercedes car.

Formula 1
Sep 28, 2022
Why Sainz is key to Ferrari achieving its chairman's F1 goals Prime

Why Sainz is key to Ferrari achieving its chairman's F1 goals

Although Ferrari's chances of title glory in 2022 have evaporated, chairman John Elkann expects the team to have chalked up both championships by 2026. Both require drivers to play the team game and, having now become more comfortable with the F1-75, Carlos Sainz may be Ferrari's key to title glory

Formula 1
Sep 27, 2022
How its faltering first turbo car advanced a Williams-Honda glory era Prime

How its faltering first turbo car advanced a Williams-Honda glory era

Stuart Codling charts the development of the Williams FW09, the ugly duckling that heralded the start of the title-winning Williams-Honda partnership

Formula 1
Sep 25, 2022