Christian Horner delivers blow to Mercedes over ambitious F1 2025 driver plans

Michelle Foster
Red Bull team boss Christian Horner hugging Max Verstappen

Christian Horner hugs Max Verstappen.

Christian Horner wasn’t mincing his words when asked if Max Verstappen would be a Red Bull driver next season, simply saying that’s “100 per cent”.

Between Red Bull’s internal strife, billed by some as a power struggle, and Lewis Hamilton freeing up a cockpit at Mercedes for the 2025 season, Verstappen has found himself making headlines in this year’s silly season.

Max Verstappen to Mercedes in 2025?

Although he has a long-term Red Bull contract, one that runs through to the end of the 2028 season, the driver is being courted publicly by Toto Wolff who would “love” him to race for the Silver Arrows.

So much so that Auto Motor und Sport is reporting Mercedes have already approved a salary and bonus package to entice Verstappen to Brackley.

With Hamilton having signed for roughly £50 million per season last August, but Verstappen’s Red Bull deal ‘only’ worth £40m plus bonuses, AMuS claims Mercedes are ready to lay down a big bucks offer for the triple World Champion.

Horner though has poured cold water over Mercedes’ ambitions, telling Sky Deutschland that Verstappen will “100 per cent” be a Red Bull driver next season. recommends

F1 2024: Head-to-head race statistics between team-mates

F1 schedule: When is the next F1 race and where is it being held?

But all is not lost for Mercedes…

All though, is not lost for Mercedes and Wolff as Verstappen has himself admitted there’s nothing that’s “100 per cent”.

Asked back in March about his future with Red Bull and whether he’ll see out his contract, he replied: “You never know in general life what happens, or comes to you, or happens around you or what might influence you.

“You can never say 100 per cent that that is how it is going to be and that is the way I approach my life.

“But I am very relaxed and very happy at the team and the performance is there, so there is no reason to leave.”

This isn’t the first time this year that Horner has had to weigh in on the Verstappen rumours, saying back in March that he is “certain” the triple World Champion will see out his contract.

“I’m certain that he will,” Horner said. “He’s got a great team around him, he’s got great faith in that team, and we have achieved an awful lot together.

“He’s committed to an agreement to 2028 and from the team side, from Max’s side, we’re determined to build on the success we’ve achieved already.”

But with Verstappen’s future reportedly tied to that of Helmut Marko’s, it remains a ‘watch this space’ when it comes to Verstappen and what comes next.

Read next: ‘He’s had chances’ – Worrying verdict issued on Daniel Ricciardo amid mentality concerns