Mercedes keep door open for Verstappen, Leclerc

Mark Scott
Charles Leclerc has said he and Max Verstappen did not get along as karting kids – but which of the now-friendlier duo will have the greater F1 career?

Mercedes boss, Toto Wolff, has kept the door slightly ajar for either Max Verstappen or Charles Leclerc to join the Silver Arrows in future.

Verstappen and Leclerc both signed long-term contract extensions with Red Bull and Ferrari during the off-season to end any immediate chance of some big driver moves for 2021 with Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel also into the final year of their current deals.

But while the contract lengths of Verstappen and Leclerc’s new deals signify a statement of intent from their teams, Wolff does not necessarily see either driver as completely off the market.

“I would be surprised if both of these young drivers have committed to their teams for five years and closed the door to everywhere else,” Wolff told Auto Motor und Sport.

“Contracts are often more complex than the media portrays.

“As long as we have a fast car, because this is our first priority, we will always have a situation where we can choose who drives it.”

But, when thinking of potential Mercedes drivers in seasons to come, Wolff also made sure to mention the team’s junior ranks as another viable option.

“We have some juniors we rely on who have done a really good job, like George Russell who drove absolutely faultlessly at Williams and Esteban [Ocon] as well,” he added.

“So we have a pool of young drivers that we can access.”

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