George Russell wants to ensure that he has his Formula 1 future sorted as soon as possible amid rumours of a move to Mercedes.
The Williams driver has recently drawn praise for some impressive performances this year, despite not finishing above P14 this term.
Russell is one of the favourites to replace either Lewis Hamilton or Valtteri Bottas if neither racer extends their Mercedes’ contract beyond next year.
Hamilton and Bottas have only signed one-year extensions with Mercedes, meaning that both seats could soon be available.
But Hamilton is expected to remain with the Silver Arrows beyond 2021 – meaning Bottas would be the one to make way.
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The 49-year-old wants plans put in place before January.
“We don’t want to leave it until January to confirm the two drivers… also, to give the driver peace of mind, or be able to concentrate on the job,” he explained.
“Obviously for next year, there’s lots of balls in the air and we will always try to do the best for the team long-term, while also giving total loyalty to our current driver line-up.
“We are not doubting either Valtteri or Lewis, but discussions obviously are going to happen – but not in January next year.”
Russell drew praise from Fernando Alonso last month after the pair swapped helmets following a race.
The Spaniard has tipped Russell to become a future world champion, despite the youngster having never finished on a podium.
“George, you rock!! Future World Champ,” the two-time world champion wrote on the lid of the helmet he presented to the Brit.