Helmut Marko delivers bad news as Toto Wolff makes Max Verstappen ‘alternative’ case – F1 news round-up

Jamie Woodhouse
Toto Wolff and Max Verstappen side-by-side.

Toto Wolff and Max Verstappen side-by-side.

With another day in the books, it is time to bring you up to speed with the latest key talking points from the world of Formula 1.

The off-track dramas at Red Bull continue to feature prominently, more specifically what they mean for the futures of Helmut Marko and Max Verstappen and Toto Wolff it seems has not been deterred in his ambitions to at least get Verstappen through the door at Mercedes. Let us take a deeper look.

Helmut Marko says he and Max Verstappen not joining Mercedes

Red Bull senior advisor Marko caused quite the stir over the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix weekend after casting doubt over his future with the Austrian company, which prompted three-time World Champion Verstappen to stress that their respective futures are intertwined, thus questioning the continuation of his Red Bull tenure.

Marko has since confirmed his continued commitment to the Red Bull cause, which eases fears regarding Verstappen, Marko indeed affirming that they “are not going to Mercedes together” after team boss Wolff’s cheeky job offer.

Read more – Helmut Marko delivers bad news for Toto Wolff after double job offer

Toto Wolff says Mercedes can be ‘alternative’ for Max Verstappen

Nonetheless, Wolff has made it be known that he seriously believes that Mercedes can be a “real alternative” to Red Bull for Verstappen.

It looks like 2024 could well be Verstappen’s year again, making a repeat in 2025 increasingly likely, though could foregoing a 2025 charge with Red Bull serve as short-term pain for Verstappen?

Considering Mercedes aced the last overhaul to the engine regulations, with a fresh reset coming for 2026, Wolff has been talking up the appeal of Mercedes to Verstappen.

Read more – Toto Wolff reveals Mercedes can be ‘real alternative’ for Max Verstappen switch

Lewis Hamilton ‘effort’ warning issued to Ferrari

While Ferrari has started the new F1 season as seemingly the closest challenger to Red Bull, that still has not made them capable of putting up a fight, Red Bull having come firing out of the blocks with consecutive one-two finishes.

Lewis Hamilton meanwhile has endured a rough start to his final season with Mercedes ahead of a 2025 switch to Ferrari, but former Renault team boss Flavio Briatore has warned Ferrari that if they do not address the gap to Red Bull for 2025, then history shows Hamilton does not put the “effort” in if the car is not good enough.

Read more – Lewis Hamilton ‘effort’ warning issued to Ferrari ahead of 2025 Charles Leclerc battle

Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton F1 2024 ‘confidence’ compared

There is no doubt that Verstappen is truly at one with Red Bull machinery, this a trend which has very much continued with the RB20.

And this is something which Red Bull reserve driver Liam Lawson has homed in on, comparing what he believes to be Verstappen’s unmatched confidence to Hamilton’s in the Mercedes W15, which he doubts is at “100 per cent”.

Read more – Max Verstappen v Lewis Hamilton: The key difference in driving mindset revealed

Toto Wolff not falling for Christian Horner ‘trap’

At this stage it is already very likely that Hamilton’s pursuit of a record-breaking eighth World Championship will spill over into his Ferrari tenure.

But with the regulations stable until 2026, it is becoming harder to see how Hamilton, or anybody not named Max Verstappen can challenge for the title before then as that driver and team combination continue to knock it out of the park.

However, Wolff has said he will not “fall into the trap” that Christian Horner did in 2015 of asking the FIA to intervene.

Read more – Toto Wolff not falling for Christian Horner ‘trap’ despite Red Bull’s dominance