Mercedes Formula 1 boss Toto Wolff has conceded that George Russell’s future at Williams will ultimately be decided by the British squad.

Williams announced back in July that both Russell and Nicholas Latifi would be staying with the team for the 2021 season. But since the team’s takeover by Dorilton Capital in September, free agent Sergio Perez has emerged as a shock candidate for Williams.

Facing limited options to find a seat on the grid for next season, speculation has linked the Racing Point driver with a switch to Williams, possibly replacing Mercedes junior Russell given that Latifi brings financial backing.

Speaking on Friday ahead of the Portuguese Grand Prix, acting team principal Simon Roberts refused to rule out a move for Perez, or to confirm that Russell or Latifi will retain their places, though he did stress “nothing has changed” with the team’s driver plans.

The failure to put the Perez rumours to bed has only increased speculation about Russell’s future at the team.

“In the end it’s Williams’s decision,” Wolff said when asked about the situation from a Mercedes perspective.

“We all know about George’s capabilities. He is a star of the future who remains unbeaten by his teammates in Formula 1.

“Sometimes he is able to show highlights in a car that is not competitive at the moment. And I think he’s a great team asset.

“But there’s obviously a financial reality that I cannot judge at all, and it’s absolutely at the discretion of the new owners and Simon to decide what they want to do going forward.”

Wolff confirmed that Mercedes has contacted Williams about Russell’s position at the Grove-based squad.

“We’ve touched base about George but at the end, like I said, it’s their call,” he said.