Toto Wolff offers huge update on Max Verstappen relationship as Mercedes rumours swirl

Jamie Woodhouse
Toto Wolff and Max Verstappen.

Toto Wolff and Max Verstappen.

While the scars of 2021 were highlighted as a potential impassable barrier for Max Verstappen to Mercedes, team boss Toto Wolff insists they have talked it out and moved on. 

Mercedes has a major vacancy to fill in their line-up for 2025 since their seven-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton is heading for Ferrari, with Wolff making no secret of the fact that he would like to name three-time World Champion Verstappen as Hamilton’s replacement.

Toto Wolff and Max Verstappen have cleared the air

Verstappen has become the dominant force of Formula 1 since his first title triumph in 2021, that concluding what had been a tense and at times fiery rivalry between the Mercedes and Red Bull camps, with Max’s father Jos even suggesting that the relationship between the Verstappens and Wolff had suffered irreparable damage.

Wolff though said that is not the case, claiming to have since spoken with Max and Jos, admitting to his own “mistakes” throughout that rivalry and saying they have agreed to let bygones be bygones, this removing a possible major hurdle to a Verstappen-Mercedes union.

“Max, Jos and I have talked about it and everything has been said,” Wolff told the Mirror.

“I think we have always had respect for each other and Jos and I also have the same kind of humour. I think the most important thing is that we both don’t like bulls**t.

“Jos knows more about racing than I do, and what about Max. Maybe I know a bit more about running an organisation. It’s unfortunate that there were those moments of rivalry, but maybe they would have acted that way too if they were in my position and I will always defend my own driver.

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“Looking back on that whole year [2021], it is clear that I made some mistakes. In the way I dealt with some things. I cannot reverse that. If you look at Max’s last two years, there is no-one even close to him. As a driver, you also can’t do it without a good car, engine and team around you. Max is in that position now.”

Verstappen started F1 2024 in ideal fashion, heading a pair of Red Bull 1-2 finishes in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, but after a shock brake-related DNF in Australia, he will be out to return to winning ways at the Japanese Grand Prix.

Despite not scoring in Australia, Verstappen remains P1 in the Drivers’ Championship, four points ahead of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.

Read next – Revealed: Toto Wolff names four drivers on Mercedes shortlist to replace Lewis Hamilton