At the Dutch Grand Prix, Mercedes team principal Wolff said he would have no issue with Albon driving for Williams next season, so long as he was “free” from his Red Bull contract.

Albon was announced as Mercedes-bound George Russell’s replacement and Nicholas Latifi’s new teammate at Williams for 2022 on Wednesday.

Following the announcement, Red Bull confirmed it had released Albon so he could seal a return to the F1 grid but retains “a relationship with him that includes future options”.

Speaking on Friday evening ahead of the Italian Grand Prix, Wolff stressed he no longer has concerns about Albon’s joining Mercedes’ customer team, or Williams’ decision to overlook reigning Formula E world champion Nyck de Vries.

“No, we always respect the authority of a team choosing its drivers,” said Wolff when asked if there was any frustration that Albon got the nod over de Vries.

“I was at Williams and I would have not wanted anybody to interfere in our driver decision. And in the same way, we have no contractual rights that we could have or would have utilised because I don’t think it’s right to meddle with the team’s decision on drivers - full stop.

“What was important for us is that if a driver from another power unit manufacturer joins the team that there is very strict and clear IP confidentiality clauses.

“That was always in great harmony with Williams. They know exactly where we are coming from and what is important to protect.

“And to be honest I absolutely support, even though it’s none of my business, Alex Albon. He deserves to be in F1, he’s a great guy and I’m happy for him that he’s in the car.”

Asked if Mercedes had got the confidentiality clauses in Albon’s contract it was seeking, Wolff replied: “Absolutely.

“And he’s basically a Williams driver for the next 12 months. He has no Red Bull links during that time.”


Williams boss Jost Capito insisted that Albon is “100% a Williams driver in 2022”, adding “that solves a lot of concerns” Wolff may have had.

“We have to be open so drivers can take opportunity that arrive and that the teams can decide on the drivers they believe are the best for them,” Capito explained.

“I think there needs to be a bit more openness and freedom. If a driver gets released from one team, it’s accepted he can go to another team.

“And I think Toto knows that if he [Albon] is released from his Red Bull contract, he’s not a Red Bull driver then and he’s 100% a Williams driver.”