Max Verstappen has not ‘burned any bridges’ as Mercedes speculation swirls

Jamie Woodhouse
Red Bull's Max Verstappen looks to be in thought while next to Christian Horner.

Red Bull's Max Verstappen in thought.

As Max Verstappen continues to be linked to a shock Mercedes switch, their former driver Valtteri Bottas cast doubt over the idea that past tensions could prove a stumbling block for any move.

While F1 2024 could not have started off any better on the track for Verstappen, who has led home a pair of Red Bull 1-2 finishes in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, matters off-track within the team have sparked speculation over Verstappen’s long-term future in Red Bull colours.

Max Verstappen has not ‘burned any bridges’ at Mercedes

While Verstappen seemed keen to distance himself from Red Bull GmbH’s investigation into Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner regarding his behaviour, a case which was dismissed, when senior advisor Helmut Marko’s future became in doubt, Verstappen made it clear that Marko had to stay or that would impact his own long-term Red Bull future.

Marko is staying, but the Verstappen to Mercedes speculation continues to bubble, team principal Toto Wolff admitting he would “love” to sign the reigning and defending three-time World Champion for 2025, as Lewis Hamilton prepares to head for Ferrari. But, could it really happen after the epic and extremely tense 2021 title battle? Bottas reckons so.

Verstappen and Hamilton went head-to-head for World Championship glory in 2021, sparking one of the greatest F1 seasons ever witnessed, yet one full of flashpoints as tempers flared often between the Red Bull and Mercedes camps.

However, Bottas, who spent his final season as Mercedes team-mate to Hamilton in 2021, does not think this will serve as a barrier to Verstappen joining Mercedes if he wished to pursue that move. recommends

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While Bottas told media ahead of the Australian Grand Prix that “I personally wouldn’t see why he would like to leave Red Bull”, considering their RB20 is “clearly the fastest car on the grid”, he does not believe that would necessarily make a Verstappen to Mercedes move bizarre.

“I don’t think so because in the end, it’s racing, it is tough competition,” said the 10-time Grand Prix winner.

“That’s F1, that’s normal. There are always rivalries but I don’t think he has burned any bridges anywhere and I think any team would like him.”

Bottas also has his F1 future to sort out looking beyond F1 2024, having made it clear that he wants to be part of the upcoming Audi era, as the brand prepares to join the grid in 2026.

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