Alex Albon to Williams: Toto Wolff could block potential move

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Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has said that he would only be happy to work with Alex Albon as a Williams driver if he was released from his current contract as a Red Bull driver programme member.

Formula 1 is a political battleground as much as a sporting one and driver appointments these days are far more complex than a team going up to one of them and offering them a seat for the coming year.

Indeed, many young drivers coming through are now tied to programmes run by the biggest teams and, therefore, that opens up and blocks certain routes for them when it comes to trying to seal a seat at the top table of motorsport.

George Russell, of course, is a prime example of Mercedes' own academy in force with him spending time at Williams - who use Mercedes power - before getting his move to the Silver Arrows for 2022.

Indeed, that said, Williams now need a replacement and Albon is one of the names in the frame but, given he is a current member of Red Bull's own driver programme and Red Bull and Mercedes' obvious rivalry, there appears to be an obstacle potentially blocking his path to join Williams.

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Wolff, of course, wants to protect Mercedes and intelligence around their power units so, perhaps naturally, he has said Albon can only come into Williams whilst they use Merc power if he is no longer a Red Bull member:

"It's tricky to have a 100% Red Bull driver on a Mercedes power unit, so I'm happy to work with him as long as they let him free from his Red Bull contract."

It's a fair point, but also shows where a lot of power lies on the grid at the moment in terms of driver selection, and it's hard to see Red Bull being willing to let Albon go so easily.

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Albon has since signed a deal to join Williams for 2022, making for a potentially fascinating dynamic next season.

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