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Wolff Waits on Verstappen for Hamilton's Heir

Wolff Waits on Verstappen for Hamilton’s Heir

23/03/2024

Toto Wolff, Mercedes F1’s principal, emphasizes patience in choosing Lewis Hamilton’s successor, eyeing Max Verstappen’s decision.

The Austrian was open on Friday about waiting for Max Verstappen’s decision, reigniting speculation about advanced contacts between the Dutch driver’s camp and Wolff.

When asked again on the matter, Wolff played it cool.

“I don’t want to speak too much or speculate about his thoughts or put any pressure on him. Currently, he is in the best car and he certainly has very good relationships with Red Bull and most of the people there.”

“When the time comes, Max, Jos (Verstappen), and Raymond Vermeulen, their manager, will have to decide what their priority is – the car, the results, or certain values within the team that can be respected or not and that they consider important.”

“Knowing them well, I think Max and Jos are very attached to clear values,” Wolff added with a slight smile.

However, the Verstappens and Wolff had several disagreements during the highly intense 2021 championship. But Wolff claims they have since reconciled.

“Jos and I are the same age. I think we’ve always respected each other and we share the same kind of humor. But most importantly, we both don’t like to dwell on nonsense.”

“Jos knows more about racing than me, and even more than Max. Maybe I know a bit more about running an organization.”

“It’s unfortunate there was some rivalry, but I will always defend my driver, and they would probably have done the same. But looking back at 2021, it’s clear I made mistakes, but I can’t go back.”

Wolff admits that, aside from Verstappen, only “a small group of drivers” interests him as a potential successor to Hamilton.

“Among them, some drivers will not make hasty decisions.”

Indeed, Fernando Alonso stated in Melbourne that he was ready to wait until the summer and that it would be “his decision.” Is Alonso on his list?

“No one can discount Fernando if he’s available. There are options for drivers in the short term, like him, who is at the end of his contract, but also in the long term.”

“What can be said is that there’s a certain situation at Red Bull. So, it can be assumed that Max will decide his future in the coming weeks depending on how the situation evolves. Is he number 1 on our wish list? It’s an excellent opportunity, obviously.”

“We already knew that Lewis might leave after this year when he signed the contract with an option only for the 2nd year. But at the same time, it creates opportunities for us, while Ferrari and McLaren have no vacancies.”

“I want to let my mind wander for the next two or three months and then decide which direction to take. We prefer to walk towards the right decision rather than run towards the wrong one.”

Wolff Waits on Verstappen for Hamilton’s Heir. Wolff Waits on Verstappen for Hamilton’s Heir

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