Toto Wolff has confirmed that there are clauses in the deal that will see Alex Albon move to Williams for 2022 that protect Mercedes’ intellectual property.
A number of big driver moves have been confirmed in recent weeks for next year’s Formula 1 season and one of those announcements saw the return of Albon sealed as he looks set to replace George Russell at Williams.
Certainly, it’s a great opportunity for Albon to get back onto the grid after a tough time at Red Bull in 2019, but there are some interesting politics around this move.
Albon, of course, has been a member of the Red Bull driver programme for some time now and, of course, his team and Mercedes are huge rivals at the front end of the grid.
Toto Wolff had already hinted that he’d look to ensure the deal does not negatively impact his team with Williams running Mercedes power units and, indeed, the Silver Arrows’ boss has now confirmed that their are clauses in place to protect such matters, with Albon effectively not a Red Bull driver for the coming campaign:
“We always respected the authority of choosing its drivers for a team,” said Wolff, as quoted by Autosport.
“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.
“What was important for us is if a driver from another power unit manufacturer joins the team then 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.
“He is basically a Williams driver for the next 12 months. He has no links to Red Bull during that time.”
It’s a fascinating extra dynamic but ultimately it is good to see Albon get another crack at the sport and not have something like this get in the way of a return.