Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff says he would be happy to work with Alex Albon at Williams, but only if Red Bull free their driver from his contract with the energy drink company.
Albon is reportedly at the top of Williams’ list of potential replacements for George Russell who is expected to move to Mercedes next season.
But the Anglo-Thai racer has also sparked the interest of Alfa Romeo Racing, with the Swiss outfit having potentially two seats to fill for 2022.
However, regarding Albon’s Williams option, Wolff is understandably reticent to see a Red Bull-supported driver join a Mercedes-powered team, and have access to specific information on the German power unit that could be channeled back to Red Bull.
“It’s one thing about the power unit and I think Albon, as I said yesterday, is a driver that deserves a seat in Formula 1,” said Wolff, speaking in Zandvoort.
“But it’s tricky to have a 100 per cent Red Bull driver on a Mercedes power unit. So, happy to work with him, as long as they let him free from his Red Bull contract.
“And on the other side, we’re supporting Nyck de Vries obviously, and he’s in talks with Williams, to get the seat there. So there’s quite some balls in the air.”
On Friday, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner said that the energy drink company was “working hard” to secure Albon’s return to the grid next year.
“I think his preference would be Williams but obviously there’s a few hurdles,” said Horner.
“He’s had about four phone calls telling him not to go there from the team next door [Mercedes]. I told him to ignore them.”
But Wolff elaborated on “the phone calls from the team next door”.
“Alex is in regular contact with Gwen Lagrue, who is running our Mercedes junior programme, and they were discussing with James Vowles, our head of strategy, the opportunities for next year,” explained the Austrian.
“Things get always… tweaked, in a way. He wasn’t told to do or not do anything, it was just exploring the opportunities for Alex and for Nyck in an amicable way between Alex and the group.”
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