Toto Wolff presents a cheeky offer to Red Bull’s under-fire motorsport boss

Michelle Foster
Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko on the phone

Toto Wolff has told Helmut Marko Mercedes need a new 'mascot'

A smiling Toto Wolff has offered Helmut Marko a job should he lose his Red Bull position, after all, Mercedes are “missing our old mascot” and he’s the “right age”.

Marko could yet to be suspended by Red Bull before the day is out with the Red Bull motorsport advisor telling ORF that the “theoretical possibility exists” after Red Bull GmbH opened an investigation.

Toto Wolff cheekily offers Helmut Marko a Mercedes role

The internal investigation relates to the various leaks of information made to the media about the Christian Horner investigation, leaks that included a widely-released email claiming to contain information about it.

Marko will meet with Red Bull GmbH chief executive Oliver Mintzlaff on Saturday to discuss his future, but already he has made it clear that “in the end I decide for myself what I’m going to do”.

“It is such a complex issue,” he added, “and again, we want calm in the team and we want to see it.

“This World Championship is going to be difficult enough with 24 races and that’s what we need to focus on.”

But should he part ways with Red Bull, by design or by force, he won’t be out of the F1 paddock for very long if he doesn’t want to be as already Wolff has cheekily offered him the role that used to belong to the late Niki Lauda.

“We’re missing our old mascot anyway,” a smiling Wolff told Austrian broadcaster ORG.

“Then we’ll just take Helmut. He’s the right age. He doesn’t have a red cap [a Lauda tradition], but then he’ll come to us.”

Wolff had earlier told Sky Germany that losing Marko would be a huge loss for Red Bull.

“Helmut was never a child of sadness. He was my ‘favourite enemy’ here,” Wolff told Sky Germany. “He was a real racer. He certainly made a huge contribution to the team’s performance over the years.

“Verstappen and the young drivers all come from him, that’s his nose for the young drivers. It would definitely be a setback for the team if Helmut were to leave.”

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But it’s not just Marko who could swap from Red Bull to Mercedes with Max Verstappen coming out in support of the Austrian.

He’s made it clear that if Marko goes, he might also walk.

“For me, Helmut is a very key factor in that and he has to stay for me, for sure,” he told Sky Sports. “I’ve always said that to the team, they know that.”

Wolff, though, accepts Mercedes have to do better as a team if they want to sign Verstappen.

“We have a seat available in 2025 and 2026,” he said. “But Max will drive where there is the fastest car, and today that is the Red Bull.”

He revealed he has been speaking to Verstappen, although more on a personal front than professional.

“We have been talking to each other for 10 years, since Max has been in Formula 1.

“I have a good relationship with Jos and also with Max. But that doesn’t mean that anyone on the professional side would see a change in the short term.”

Read next: Max Verstappen: Red Bull know Helmut Marko must stay if I am to