Toto Wolff has said that Mercedes will evaluate its driver line-up midway through the 2021 Formula 1 season.
Both Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas signed one-year contracts ahead of the new campaign, meaning that the future for the seven-time world champions remains unclear.
George Russell and Esteban Ocon are two potential options to fill any vacancy that emerges in 2022, with both still part of the Mercedes driver academy, while Red Bull’s Max Verstappen has also been linked.
Asked about the status of Russell and Ocon, Wolff admitted that the team had options ahead of next year but said it was too early to discuss the different “scenarios”.
“Ocon is in the second year of a two-year contract with Renault or Alpine F1 this year, Russell is with Williams this year,” Wolff told Speedweek. “So there are some variations for 2022, but until then our full support goes to Valtteri and Lewis.
“We will evaluate in the middle of the year whether there will be a change in 2022. It is surely too early now to talk about scenarios for 2022.”
Like last year, the 2021 season is likely to be impacted by COVID-19, with the Australian and Chinese Grands Prix already postponed as a result.
Discussing how the virus could play a role in the upcoming campaign, Wolff said that it was “not yet certain” that all of the races currently scheduled will take place.
“In the end, it’s all looking into the crystal ball,” he added.
“But I think that thanks to the vaccination coverage, the situation will ease in most European countries. That is why I think the situation in two or three months will be much better than last year. It is not yet certain that all races can take place on the planned routes, Portugal and Brazil are currently on the red list.
“But the further we are in the season, the more I expect the situation to ease. The British teams still have the exception for top-class sport with a strict protocol that we have to comply with, which we also do. And the whole Formula 1 entourage is tested every three days anyway.”