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Wolff Targets Verstappen as Future Mercedes Star

Wolff Targets Verstappen as Future Mercedes Star

21/04/2024

Amidst Red Bull’s internal strife and performance issues, Mercedes F1’s Toto Wolff aims to lure Max Verstappen, emphasizing values over speed in his recruitment strategy.

Mercedes F1 team director Toto Wolff dropped several bombshells during his press conference after the China GP.

He suggested that Red Bull’s pace alone would not be enough to convince Max Verstappen to stay, with a pointed dig at what’s happening within the Austrian team in terms of values.

Amid rumors of unrest at Red Bull and a supposed power struggle within the team and group between Horner and the Thais on one side, and Marko and the Austrians on the other, Verstappen might consider leaving the team despite a contract in force until 2028.

Wolff had previously expressed his desire to recruit the triple world champion as he looks to replace Lewis Hamilton before his move to Ferrari next year.

Despite a period filled with success for Verstappen, which continues at a high pace, Wolff hinted at other elements that could play a role in Verstappen’s future and insists that a transfer could well take place.

“There are so many factors that play a role in a driver’s arrival,” Wolff said after the end of the China Grand Prix, when asked about his attempts to recruit Verstappen.

“Obviously, when you look at things from the most rational perspective, you can say: ‘it’s the fastest car in the hands of the fastest driver.’ But I don’t think that’s the only reason you stay where you are. Let’s say for simple minds, that might be the only reason you stay in a car and that’s it.”

“But perhaps there is more depth for some people who also consider other factors. I think Max has that depth of thought.”

Wolff added that Mercedes F1 does not necessarily need to convince Verstappen to join the team.

“At this point, are we able to convince him? I don’t think it’s a matter of conviction.”

“I think Max knows motorsport better than anyone, he will make the decisions he feels are right for him.”

“I think several factors play a role, but it’s him who will trigger the fall of other dominoes afterward. Everyone is waiting to see what he will do.”

“If I were Max, I would stay at Red Bull in 2025 – but I am not Max. It’s the fastest car but there are still other factors.”

When asked if he had a chance to sign Verstappen for 2025, Wolff replied, “If I say that, I might mess up my entire strategy.”

Wolff added that Verstappen and his management team – including his father, former F1 driver Jos Verstappen, and manager Raymond Vermeulen – would decide his future based on a comprehensive view of the situation, and stated that the changes in chassis and engine regulations for 2026 would also be a factor.

“It’s about how they see the future, how they think the future fits them best, taking into account many factors.”

“We are in a very good position for 2026. We are ambitious with the goals we have set for power units, batteries, and sustainable fuel, and if we are able to produce a decent chassis, we will be a good proposition. But who knows?”

Wolff Targets Verstappen as Future Mercedes Star

Wolff Targets Verstappen as Future Mercedes Star. Wolff Targets Verstappen as Future Mercedes Star

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