Fresh Max Verstappen twist amid Mercedes rumours as Ferrari links resurface

Oliver Harden
Max Verstappen looks to his right during the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix podium ceremony with prominent logos of Mercedes and Ferrari beside him

Could Mercedes or Ferrari tempt Max Verstappen to walk away from Red Bull?

A Dutch F1 pundit has reopened the debate about Max Verstappen’s future amid rumours linking him to Mercedes, claiming he would “boost” Ferrari as Lewis Hamilton’s team-mate.

Verstappen has embarked upon the most crushing period of dominance ever seen in F1 with Red Bull, storming to three consecutive World Championships since 2021.

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The 26-year-old has won 46 of the last 68 races stretching back to the start of his maiden title-winning season, with Verstappen opening his account for 2024 with consecutive victories from pole position in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

Victory at next weekend’s Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne would see Verstappen match his own record of 10 straight wins, just six months after surpassing Sebastian Vettel’s 2013 tally of nine.

Despite his comfortable position at the sport’s summit – and holding a contract until the end of the 2028 season – Verstappen’s Red Bull future has been thrown into jeopardy in light of the recent saga involving team principal Christian Horner. recommends

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Verstappen’s father Jos called for Horner to leave his position after the Bahrain GP, accusing the long-serving team boss of “playing the victim when he is the one causing the problems” after an investigation into Horner’s conduct was dismissed.

Amid concerns that Verstappen could leave Red Bull to replace Hamilton at Mercedes in Saudi Arabia a week later, Horner argued “nobody is bigger than the team.”

Although Charles Leclerc signed a new long-term extension with Ferrari as recently as January – seven days before Hamilton’s earth-shattering move was announced – Dutch racer and F1 analyst Mike Hezemans has proposed a theory that Verstappen could also join the Scuderia.

And he believes Hamilton would be “clever” to accept Verstappen as his Ferrari team-mate in 2025.

He told the Dutch edition of RacingNews365: “Of course, a contract says nothing in Formula 1.

“If I were [Ferrari team principal Fred] Vasseur, I say yes. Then you do bring in the best.

“But does Hamilton want that? Maybe he does, I would think that would be clever.

“That would be a lot of fun. But whether it will happen? I don’t think so. But if Verstappen were to go to Ferrari, that would give a kind of boost to Ferrari.”

Speaking to media in Saudi Arabia last weekend, Verstappen was insistent there is “no reason to leave” Red Bull any time soon – but teased Hamilton’s shock switch to Ferrari proves anything can happen.

He said: “The thing is I think no one would have ever seen that Lewis would move to Ferrari.

“In my life – and it’s not related to F1 or whatever, it’s just general life – you never know what happens or what comes to you or whatever happens around you or what might influence you.

“So you can never say 100 per cent that’s how it’s going to be and I approach my life like that.

“But I also don’t think about it too much. I’m very relaxed, I’m very happy at the team, the performance is there – there’s no reason to move on.”

Asked if he will see out the entirety of his Red Bull contract, Verstappen stressed that performance will be the deciding factor.

He said: “Of course, that has always been the intention of signing. That’s why we signed so long to be here.

“And of course, it’s about the performance of the car.

“And of course, from 2026 onwards, that is a bit of a question mark anyway with new regulations, but I knew that when I signed my contract.

“But I also know what they have done for me in my career, so the intention is, of course, absolutely to stay with this team because I really enjoy it and I’m also really happy within the team.

“And as long as we perform, there is no reason to leave.”

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