Mercedes: Verstappen 2020 rumour changes nothing on F1 line-up plan

Toto Wolff insists that Red Bull being worried it could lose Max Verstappen for next year will not change Mercedes' approach to choosing its 2020 Formula 1 driver line-up

Mercedes: Verstappen 2020 rumour changes nothing on F1 line-up plan

Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko recently told Auto Motor Und Sport that he was worried Verstappen could leave Red Bull because of suggestions the team has not yet hit a performance target it needs to ensure he stays for 2020.

Although no details of the performance clause have been revealed, there have been various suggestions that it requires Red Bull to either win a race before the summer break, or to be second in the constructors' championship by that stage of the 2019 campaign.

Although the possibility of Verstappen being on the driver market would likely be of interest to Mercedes, which has not yet decided on who will be Lewis Hamilton's team-mate, Wolff says that he is not going to change plans because of the Red Bull situation.

He is also clear, despite suggestions from Red Bull that there has been repeated Mercedes contact with Verstappen, that he has not spoken to the driver.


"I don't know anything about it," said Wolff, when asked by Autosport about whether or not he views Red Bull's possible Verstappen situation as an opportunity for Mercedes.

"I haven't spoken to Max, to make it clear here, and I would like to continue it like we have always done in the past.

"First, we evaluate our current line up and discuss with the drivers what their views are before really entering into a proper discussion with anybody else.

"And that is valid for any driver out there who can possibly bring something to the game at Mercedes. "But we have exciting junior drivers that merit being in F1.

"Esteban [Ocon] being the one that fell through the chairs last year and putting all that puzzle into place is something that I would like to do over the next few months."

Talk of Verstappen's exit clause first surfaced earlier this year, but he has repeatedly made clear that he is committed to moving forward with Red Bull.

When asked about the Mercedes rumours at this weekend's race in Austria, Verstappen said: "I guess there's people who know more than me."

Hamilton added that he had heard nothing about Verstappen potentially being on the move, but said he would have no problem in going up against him in the same team.

"People are always making up stuff," said Hamilton.

"It's the first I've heard of it. I think the team's pretty happy with Valtteri and me.

"I do know Max is definitely interested in opportunities. I don't know, maybe. If there is, [a move] then great. I don't mind driving with you. I'll drive against whoever."

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