“He’s very close to Toto Wolff”– Jacques Villeneuve predicts Lance Stroll will be the new Mercedes driver next year to replace Valtteri Bottas.
Mercedes are yet to solve their second seat uncertainty for next year, with Valtteri Bottas’ future with the Brackley based team is on a hook after four years of service to them.
So far, George Russell was rumoured to be the replacement of Bottas, but the former world champion Jacques Villeneuve predicts that Lance Stroll will be the next Mercedes driver.
“For me, [Bottas] could move to Aston Martin, instead of Lance Stroll, who would go to Mercedes,” said Jacques to Italian newspaper Libero Quotidiano. “Stroll senior’s dream is to see his son win championships.”
“He’s very close to Toto Wolff, and Toto needs a place for Valtteri. Hamilton certainly doesn’t want to have Russell as a teammate. It’s better to have someone like Bottas, who won’t bother him.”
Is there any merit to that argument?
Wolff doesn’t need to involve his business relations with Lawrence Stroll for the second driver candidacy in Mercedes, meanwhile for Stroll Snr. Aston Martin is his main project and would want it to be contending for the title, and realistically would want his son to be a part of it.
Moreover, Mercedes have invested in Russell only to make him their new driver, and he has managed to perform on expectations, which only bolsters his chances to replace Bottas next year.
YESSS!!! Double points!!! So, so happy for every single member of this team. 2.5 years of incredibly hard work and we’re getting our reward. COMEEE ONNN @WilliamsRacing!!!
— George Russell (@GeorgeRussell63) August 1, 2021
Apart from that, Mercedes would now no longer be looking at a candidate who can play the role of a docile partner to Hamilton, as the 36-year-old driver is only reaching the twilight of his career, and it is only realistic for Wolff to hire someone who can spearhead the team after Hamilton.
So, despite the close relations between Aston Martin and Mercedes, Villeneuve’s argument that his compatriot would be hired by Mercedes next year has only a little merit.