Max Verstappen’s ‘tell me your plans’ appeal ahead of crucial 2025 F1 decision

Michelle Foster
Max Verstappen punches the air after winning the 2024 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix with a prominent Mercedes logo alongside him

Could Max Verstappen really walk away from Red Bull's F1 empire to replace Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes in 2025?

Max Verstappen’s manager “briefly” spoke with Ferrari about the future but when it came to Mercedes it was the driver who had a “one-on-one” chat and asked the team to “tell me your plans”.

Although Verstappen has a long-term contract with Red Bull, one that runs through to the end of the 2028 F1 championship, the team’s off-track troubles have thrown his commitment into question.

“Max sat down one-on-one with Mercedes and said: ‘Tell me your plans.'”

Said to be at odds with Christian Horner over the team principal’s investigation into his alleged behaviour by a colleague, which was dismissed by parent company Red Bull GmbH, Verstappen’s father Jos has told the media the team will “explode” if Horner remains in charge.

While that was followed up by threats of walking if Helmut Marko were to be ousted in the midst of it all, Verstappen has since called for harmony.

He’s also made it clear that he is “happy” at Red Bull, especially as they are the team that keeps winning with three out of four wins for this season.

That, though, has done little to stop the rumbles.

According to former F1 driver Robert Doornbos, amidst all that, while Verstappen’s manager Raymond Vermeulen had a brief chat with Ferrari, it was Verstappen who sat down with Mercedes.

“It is very impressive that the drivers, the mechanics, the engineers, all maintain this, these performances,” Doornbos said during the Ziggo Sport Race Café.

“There’s a lot of friction there now. The process continues, but there are camps within the team.

“At a certain point that is disastrous. When trust is lost, people start to determine their own futures.

“Max went to check, yes, Vermeulen talked briefly with Ferrari and then somewhere else, and then briefly there, but Max sat down one-on-one with Mercedes and said: ‘Tell me your plans’.

“He wants to know whether they can take that 2014 battle again. He want to grab that too.”

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Dutch pundit Doornbos claims not only did Marko give “permission for Max to talk about” the future with Mercedes, but the Brackley squad has also been handed a “blank cheque” to sign the triple World Champion.

“It has not been said when he will go, but there is a plan for when he does go,” he said. “If he were to go, a year of adjustment would be desirable.”

With 2025’s regulations stagnant that would allow Verstappen a year to familiarise himself with the team’s ground-effect aerodynamic car before 2026’s new regulations.

But such is Red Bull’s advantage, he actually cannot see Verstappen doing it.

“Mercedes is far off the pace,” he said. “Even Alonso indicated that he did not know why he wanted to sign there.”

Fernando Alonso, having re-signed with Aston Martin earlier this week, quipped before signing his new contract why he would not sign with Mercedes who are “behind” when Aston Martin is an option.

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