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Wolff would “love” to lure Verstappen from Red Bull’s F1 team

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says he would “love” to grab Max Verstappen from the grasp of his current Red Bull Formula 1 team.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB20, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W15

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

While Verstappen has signed a contract at Red Bull that carries him through until 2028, the recent internal turmoil at the Milton Keynes-based squad has opened up the prospect of him potentially walking away.

Those chances increased over the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix weekend when, after it emerged there was a possibility that Verstappen ally Helmut Marko could be forced out, the Dutch driver threatened to quit.

Wolff, whose team is looking for a replacement for Lewis Hamilton for 2025, has been keeping a watching brief over the developments surrounding Verstappen and the Red Bull team.

He had already been spotted several times over the Bahrain Grand Prix weekend in talks with Jos Verstappen and driver manager Raymond Vermeulen.

Jos Verstappen with Toto Wolff, Team Principal and CEO, Mercedes-AMG F1 Team

Jos Verstappen with Toto Wolff, Team Principal and CEO, Mercedes-AMG F1 Team

Photo by: Jon Noble

But while eager to get Verstappen on board, Wolff admits that critical to convincing him is producing a better car – because at the moment Mercedes is well behind Red Bull.

“I'd love to have him, but first we need to sort out our car,” explained Wolff. “I think we owe it to our drivers George [Russell] and Lewis [Hamilton] to improve the car, and give them equipment that is good, before dreaming about the future.”

Wolff said that ultimately the ball was in Verstappen’s court over the matter. “I think this is a decision that Max needs to take,” he added. “There is no team up and down the grid who wouldn't do handstands to have him in a car.”

With the driver market remaining in a state of flux, Wolff has been consistent in stating that he will not be rushed into a decision about finding a team-mate for George Russell for next year.

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Mercedes is continuing to evaluate the progress of Andrea Kimi Antonelli in Formula 2, and there is no shortage of experienced F1 drivers interested in joining – with Carlos Sainz and Fernando Alonso both having been linked.

Reflecting on the timetable to make a call, Wolff said: “I think we're going to wait. We have a few interesting options.

“And the more we're able to assess how the season pans out, the young drivers with us against the slightly older ones, that's not going to be a decision which we want to take in the next few weeks. It's rather a few months, depending on where it goes.”

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