Mercedes reportedly green-light huge Max Verstappen deal that eclipses Lewis Hamilton salary

Jamie Woodhouse
Lewis Hamilton congratulates Max Verstappen.

Lewis Hamilton congratulates Max Verstappen.

The Mercedes team has allegedly approved a bumper salary to be offered to Max Verstappen, stretching beyond even the pay packet of Lewis Hamilton, as the situation hangs in the balance. 

Max Verstappen is under contract at Red Bull until the end of 2028, though PlanetF1.com understands that a clause was inserted into that contract which allows Verstappen to leave should senior advisor and driver programme boss Helmut Marko depart. Mercedes then are smelling a potential opportunity.

Mercedes ready to break the bank for Max Verstappen?

With a Mercedes seat currently unoccupied for 2025 as Lewis Hamilton prepares to join Ferrari, team boss Toto Wolff has made it clear that he would “love” to bring Verstappen in as the seven-time World Champion’s replacement.

And it has been claimed by Auto Motor und Sport that the team has internally given the green light to a Verstappen contract offer which surpasses Hamilton’s salary with bonuses included.

The report also speculates that while Verstappen is happy to remain at Red Bull in the team’s current form, that would change if the hierarchy does, Marko therefore key to this with the Austrian having earlier in the season hinted at his departure, but soon changing his tune in the midst of the Red Bull off-track unrest which has since cooled.

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However, as Wolff himself has admitted, Verstappen will be drawn to the team which has the best car, which currently is very much Red Bull and not Mercedes, Verstappen having headed three 1-2 finishes out of four races for the team so far in F1 2024, while Mercedes are yet to score their first podium of the year.

Auto Motor und Sport claim that the Verstappen camp needs to see evidence of race-winning potential at Mercedes again if this shock team switch is to be considered.

The early-season struggles were certainly a bitter pill to swallow for Mercedes, who had hoped their new-look W15 challenger could put them back in the title conversation, though there was talk of a breakthrough in finding the right operating window at the Japanese Grand Prix – referred to as a “testing” run by Wolff – where they finished P7 and P9.

The F1 2024 development war is yet to spark into life and huge gains will be needed from Mercedes to prove to Verstappen that they can be his best bet for the future. Fortunately for Mercedes, Auto Motor und Sport claim the team is in no rush to receive an answer from Verstappen, affording them the luxury of time to get the W15 in a better place.

Read next: One big driver name scrubbed off Red Bull’s 2025 shortlist by Helmut Marko