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Wolff Verstappen Mercedes Move

Horner’s Future Sways Max, Newey Mercedes Moves

14/03/2024

Toto Wolff believes Mercedes’ advancements could allure Max Verstappen, amidst Red Bull’s ongoing challenges and Lewis Hamilton’s impending departure.

Mercedes F1 Team Principal Toto Wolff has stated that his team’s progress could persuade Max Verstappen to join them.

The Brackley-based team is in search of a replacement for seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton, who is set to move to Ferrari next year.

Amid a turbulent period at Red Bull, suggestions have emerged that Max Verstappen might leave the team before his contract ends in late 2028. Verstappen has pledged his loyalty to Marko amidst several weeks of turmoil within the Red Bull organization, with Max’s father, Jos, calling for Team Principal Christian Horner’s departure following an investigation into the Brit.

With new technical regulations coming into play in 2026, potentially shaking up the pecking order, Wolff sees this as an opportunity for Mercedes to entice Verstappen.

“Every team would like to have Max because he’s the strongest driver, that’s logical,” Wolff explained.

“But a driver will always want to be in the fastest car. That’s why we need to do our homework in advance so the car is competitive. Mercedes could become a real alternative for Max.”

“There are moments in every career when you want to try something new or should try something new. That’s why I bear no ill will towards Lewis. The only thing that surprised me was the timing, as the season hadn’t even started yet.”

“But it now seems that this could be a good solution: unlike us, Ferrari and McLaren have finalized their contracts so early that they will have more open seats in the coming years.”

The 2026 technical regulations include a major overhaul of the power units, marking the most significant change since the introduction of turbo-hybrid engines in 2014. Mercedes had started strongly then and remained unbeaten until Verstappen’s first drivers’ title in 2021.

Wolff hopes to make a similar leap in two years as Mercedes looks to bounce back from a rough patch.

“There will be a completely new set of regulations starting in 2026, especially regarding the engine. This gives us the opportunity, hopefully, to perform as well as we did in 2014. If you can be there early as a driver, it’s obviously an advantage if we get the launch right.”

Asked about the possibility of bringing Adrian Newey to Mercedes from Red Bull, Wolff did not dismiss the idea.

“Everything is always possible in this crazy merry-go-round; I rule nothing out. But we have an excellent technical team with which I am completely comfortable and correctly positioned, even if the lap times don’t currently reflect it.”

Verstappen and/or Newey to Mercedes, is it really conceivable? Wolff might owe this to one man clinging to his position: Christian Horner.

“I’m just saying that if Horner stays, there are exciting possibilities. Ultimately, it’s about Horner’s personality, but I’ve only read what’s happening internally at Red Bull in the media.”

Wolff even admits that Marko could end up in silver.

“It all depends on Max and his perspectives. But to gauge Marko’s real significance to Max, I’m not sufficiently familiar with their dynamics.”

Wolff Verstappen Mercedes Move . Wolff Verstappen Mercedes Move

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