The Dutch Grand Prix is more regarded as the announcement of the potential new Mercedes drivers’ line-up than the return of Formula 1 back to Zandvoort. The weekend opened with the news of Kimi Raikkonen’s retirement from the Circus, and it leaves at least one Alfa Romeo seat untaken.
Rumours has it that the Italian-Swiss team’s seat should host Valtteri Bottas, while Mercedes could finally hire George Russell or decide to give the newly-crowned Formula E champion Nyck De Vries a chance to be “promoted” from Mercedes’ electric team to the major formula.
However, no fact has been confirmed yet. Speaking of these issues, Toto Wolff approached the future in an evasive way which can be interpreted in many ways, even if the chance of seeing Lewis Hamilton battling against a new and young teammate seems to be even more real.
First thoughts on Zandvoort, Team 🧡💭 pic.twitter.com/Wb0PRNvs4k— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) September 3, 2021
“I admired his decision back in the day after winning the F2 title to say, ‘I want to be part of a works team, and that's why I'm joining Mercedes in Formula E, rather than running behind the dream in Formula 1,’” - Wolff said, addressing De Vries’ decision to commit to Mercedes’ E-team.
“And now the time has come that people recognise his talent and his ability, and therefore there's talks taking place – he continues - But for us, most important is that he stays within the family. I don't want to really lose him at that stage for another Formula E championship, but I wouldn't block him for Formula 1. Nyck has a guaranteed seat in Formula E with us. As I said before, I wish him to be in Formula 1, but I don't want to lose him for our Formula E campaign.”
These words seem to keep the young Dutch in FE for one more season and so, the curiosity of the next contestant to that F1 seat revolves around George Russell, who has a multi-year experience in the Circus driving and delivering with Williams. The problem of “promoting” or “blocking young talents sits in F1 exclusivity, as the spots are very few so it is extremely hard for youngsters to get a chance to be seen in the Circus.
Toto Wolff says that he appreciates the way in which Formula 1 protects its spots, as makes it “like a champions league of motor-racing”, adding that, on the other hand, it should allow more freedom to help the teams to give the young drivers an occasion to score and conquest their seat.
The Austrian team leader has already communicated that some decisions have been made so we cannot wait to learn more about them. Will they really be shared here in Zandvoort?