Toto Wolff reveals Max Verstappen stance amid rumours of F1 move to Mercedes

Mercedes boss Wolff is keen to take his time in replacing Ferrari-bound Lewis Hamilton for 2025

Kieran Jackson
Formula 1 Correspondent
Tuesday 07 May 2024 14:51 BST
Horner Slams Wolff's Comments On Verstappen's Future

Toto Wolff refused to rule out a meeting with Max Verstappen as the Mercedes boss revealed he is in “observation mode” as he waits to sign a replacement for Lewis Hamilton.

Wolff is looking for a new team-mate for George Russell next year with seven-time world champion Hamilton leaving for Ferrari.

The Mercedes team principal is keen to land Verstappen, who has a contract with Red Bull until 2028 and insists he is happy at the world champions “at the moment.” He is on course for a fourth-straight drivers’ title this year.

While Wolff dismissed speculation that he was set to meet with Verstappen’s representatives in Miami on Monday, he admitted that talks could take place in the future as he continues to bide his time ahead of finding a second driver for 2025.

“There’s always plenty of meetings, I can’t really say about the second driver,” Wolff said.

“I think we’ve talked about the possibilities. I want to be fair to these guys and not make it look like we are playing chess with humans because we are not doing that.

“I think we want to take our time, see where Max’s thinking goes, and at the same time monitor the other drivers.

“Carlos [Sainz] was very strong in Miami again and that’s why we are a little bit in an observation mode at the moment.”

Sainz, who will make way for Hamilton at Ferrari, is currently without a drive for 2025 but has been linked with the Mercedes seat. Red Bull and Sauber are the Spaniard’s other possibilities.

Toto Wolff is in ‘observation mode’ ahead of picking a driver for 2025
Toto Wolff is in ‘observation mode’ ahead of picking a driver for 2025 (Getty Images)
Max Verstappen has a contract with Red Bull until 2028
Max Verstappen has a contract with Red Bull until 2028 (AP)

Yet Wolff could also look to promote highly-rated Mercedes junior Kimi Antonelli from Formula 2. The 17-year-old could even replace Logan Sargeant at Williams at some point during the current season.

Wolff added that, in his view, Verstappen holds the key to the driver market.

“If I was him [Verstappen], I wouldn’t leave – at least for 2025,” he said.

“But he’s the leading driver, he’s the top guy at the moment and that’s why it’s for him to take those decisions.

“There may not be any decisions to take, maybe everything continues like it is, but that is then also guidance for us.”

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