Russell out, Perez in at Williams for 2021?

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Williams is considering a shock swoop for Sergio Perez in the place of George Russell for 2021, according to new reports.

French media says the Grove-based outfit, which was taken over by Dorilton Capital back in August, is looking at the Mexican, who is currently without a seat after Racing Point announced Sebastian Vettel for their new era as Aston Martin starting next season.

Along with his experience and skill, Perez's main appeal is the lure of strong financial backing, which, along with Nicholas Latifi's own sponsors, would help Williams return to a much more stable footing after years of struggle.

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What may discredit this rumour for some though, is the fact Russell was confirmed at Williams for next year back in July.

But because the team now has new owners, that contract is now non-binding, leaving Dorilton with the option of dropping the Briton.

In George's favour are the two years experience he has leading the team, plus the cut-price engine deal Williams gets from Mercedes to have one of their junior drivers.

However, if the benefits of signing Perez outweigh what Russell and Mercedes can offer, then it may mean very little.

This also comes as speculation grows that Nikita Mazepin is set to fill one of the seats at Haas for 2021.

The Russian's billionaire father Dmitry has been linked to an investment in the American outfit, though this has been denied.


But with Haas hinting at an all-new line-up next season, team boss Guenther Steiner admitted Mazepin, who tested with Mercedes last year, could be an option.

"It is a very good year for drivers in F2 and of course Mazepin is one of those drivers," he said at the Nurburgring. "So why wouldn't [Mazepin] be on the shortlist?"

Haas has also been linked to taking on one of Ferrari's junior drivers, with Callum Ilott set to run in FP1 at the Eifel GP before the weather intervened.

But the bigger story now is the apparent uncertainty around Russell, something that could leave Mercedes in a very difficult position.

The team has already re-signed Valtteri Bottas for 2021 and have very few options other than to repeat the reserve role Esteban Ocon filled last year.

Of course, Lewis Hamilton is currently yet to re-sign for next year but it would be a shock way beyond Nico Rosberg's sudden retirement in 2016 if Russell was to replace the soon-to-be seven-time F1 champion.