Max Verstappen addresses Mercedes speculation with ‘nice to hear’ Toto Wolff interest admission

Jamie Woodhouse
Red Bull's Max Verstappen smiles towards the camera.

Max Verstappen smiles towards camera.

Max Verstappen was sending out mixed vibes on his Red Bull future, his admission that it is “nice to hear” Mercedes boss Toto Wolff expressing his desire to sign him, contrasting the claim he is “pretty fixed” at Red Bull.

The ongoing tensions at Red Bull have sparked question marks over Verstappen’s future with the team, such talk fuelled by Verstappen himself when senior advisor Helmut Marko hinted he could be suspended or leave the Austrian outfit of his own accord, claims which he later backed down on during the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix weekend.

Max Verstappen ‘pretty fixed’ at Red Bull, or is he?

The whiff of Verstappen discontent drew the interest of Mercedes in particular, with team boss Toto Wolff admitting that he would “love” to bring the three-time World Champion on board.

Verstappen though has moved to make that prospect far more unlikely – or at least it appeared so at first – by confirming to media ahead of the Australian Grand Prix that he sees himself as “pretty fixed” in the Red Bull line-up.

“I think there’s every reason to be happy,” said Verstappen of life at Red Bull. “The car is going really well. There’s so many great people in the team that are constantly pushing for better results.

“That’s what I focus on. I focus on the performance, I’m happy, and when I go home I don’t think about any other thing because it’s pretty fixed where I am. And that’s also where I want to be.” recommends

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That will be music to the ears of Verstappen’s team-mate Perez, who despite talking up the positive dynamic within the team, admitted it would be a “blow” if three-time World Champion and current F1 2024 World Championship leader Verstappen were to leave.

“I don’t know what clause Max has in his contract, I think it’s best you ask him,” said Perez. “I think Max, as far as I know, has a contract with the team and is fully committed with the team.

“The rest… I think it’s not for me to comment, it’s nothing to do with me. I’m focusing on my decisions and what I have to do. For us to be talking about other drivers when we don’t know any facts… I don’t see any point to do so.

“I think the team is in a very strong position, with the results we’re currently having, the harmony that there is in the team, I think to achieve that it just takes a lot of years, probably.

“Right now, the dynamic, everyone in the team is working really well together, the whole engineering group is really united. You can see that on track in how efficient we’ve been in the last years. I don’t see any reason to change it. It would obviously be a blow for the team if Max were to leave.”

However, Verstappen would later move to suggest that Perez may have cause for concern, thanks to his reaction to Wolff’s interest in a swoop that would snatch Verstappen away from Red Bull.

Relations between the Red Bull and Mercedes camps have not always been particularly harmonious, stemming from the epic 2021 title clash involving Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, though rather than take the opportunity to re-affirm his Red Bull commitment once more, he instead admitted it was “nice to hear” Wolff’s expression of interest.

Wolff has made it clear that he would “love to have him” as Hamilton prepares to join Ferrari from 2025.

Quizzed by Sky F1 on how Wolff’s comments could impact his Red Bull future decision, Verstappen responded: “It doesn’t have any impact on me on what I would do. It’s always nice to hear that.

“Toto and I, we had our little moments but that’s normal between two teams battling for the championship. But the respect has always been there. From my side, it doesn’t change anything.”

Verstappen has the longest contract anywhere on the F1 grid, his Red Bull deal running until the end of 2028.

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