Toto Wolff in Red Bull firing line after publicly courting Max Verstappen

Thomas Maher
Toto Wolff, Mercedes, Max Verstappen, Red Bull, 2024 Japanese Grand Prix.

Toto Wolff's attempts to lure Max Verstappen away from Red Bull hasn't impressed CEO Oliver Mintzlaff.

Red Bull CEO Oliver Mintzlaff believes Toto Wolff needs to focus on “his own problems” and expressed confidence in keeping Max Verstappen.

With the Mercedes team boss and CEO Toto Wolff having publicly courted Max Verstappen in an attempt to lure him away from Red Bull, Red Bull’s Austrian CEO Oliver Mintzlaff has issued his own thoughts on the matter.

Red Bull CEO: I understand the pressure Toto Wolff is under

With the relationship between Red Bull and Max Verstappen appearing not quite as unshakeable as it has been in the past as the end of the current regulation cycle edges closer, Wolff has been making overtures to attempt to lure Verstappen away from the Milton Keynes-based squad.

Red Bull has endured a tumultuous few months, stemming back to January when parent company Red Bull GmbH confirmed an internal investigation into Christian Horner’s behaviour as team boss.

The investigation was dismissed ahead of the season opener in Bahrain, but it has resulted in an apparent power struggle within the team as Horner has enjoyed the backing of the Austrian and Thai shareholders.

CEO Oliver Mintzlaff has addressed the possibility of a Verstappen exit in light of the turmoil and took the opportunity to snipe at Wolff’s attempts to tempt his driver away from Red Bull.

“I understand the pressure Toto Wolff, and perhaps other teams, are under after years of being behind,” Mintzlaff told Germany’s Bild.

“But I think Wolff should focus on his own problems. He has enough of those. And it also has something to do with respect when you keep talking about other teams’ personnel. That’s not appropriate.”

Rumours suggested a hefty €150 million contract offer was presented to Verstappen following Wolff expressing interest in signing Verstappen, but the Dutch driver has stated that he is not interested in joining a team for the money as he would get “quite grumpy” if he wasn’t able to fight for victories.

“At the end of the day, it’s not about money for me. I’m already very happy of course with what I’m having at the team,” he told media in Miami.

“It’s really important about having the quickest car, and of course a good environment. That’s what we have currently, and that’s also what I asked for. As long as the environment is right and we have the quickest car, then it’s quite straightforward.”

“At the end of the day, even if let’s say that would be the case, 150 million….money is not going to be the differentiator for me to go somewhere.

“I’m happy with what I’m earning already, it’s about performance.

“I know myself that if I will be driving for P5 or P6, you get quite grumpy with yourself. So, it’s always about performance at the end of the day. I mean, everyone knows that, Toto [Wolff] also knows that.”

As for whether he is really on the fence about deciding his future, with such big-money offers purportedly being made behind the scenes, Verstappen made it clear: “My future is within Red Bull at the moment.” recommends

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Oliver Mintzlaff: ‘Thoroughbred’ Max Verstappen shares DNA with Red Bull

Mintzlaff said that he has no concerns about losing Verstappen to Mercedes, despite Wolff’s best efforts and an open chequebook, pointing to an alignment of mindset between driver and team.

“He is a thoroughbred racer and wants to win every race, every qualifying, and every training session,” he said.

“This connects us. It’s in his and our DNA. And he finds the perfect conditions for this with us. We have created a unique set-up, and built the best car in Formula 1.

“Max still has a long-term contract here and hasn’t said a word that he doesn’t want to fulfill it.

“I’m not at all worried that he’s considering a move. Things just have to calm down again now. That’s what Max wants – and that’s what we want too. You also need that if you want to be successful in the long term in sport, whether in football or Formula 1.”

With Verstappen and Red Bull continuing to dominate F1, and the Dutch driver eying up a fourth consecutive World Championship win, Mintzlaff said he sees no reason why Verstappen might consider leaving the team to join a rival.

“As I said before, Max wants the fastest car and we have it,” he said.

“Max wants to be World Champion and, with us, he has the best chance. Max is a loyal guy.

“He knows that Christian and Helmut have always given him their trust. He appreciates that. Moreover, Red Bull is just a great brand with which he can identify excellently. So there are many reasons for him to stay.”

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