Toto Wolff quizzed about Max Verstappen prospect at Mercedes in 2025 swoop

Michelle Foster
Max Verstappen next to Formula 1 logo during 2024 Bahrain testing.

Max Verstappen next to Formula 1 logo.

Toto Wolff has all but ruled out signing Max Verstappen as Lewis Hamilton’s replacement, after all, drivers want the fastest car and right now “Red Bull is the quickest”.

Wolff has spent the past month searching through drivers’ CVs with George Russell saying it’s “funny” the names that have been calling the team boss.

Toto Wolff believes Red Bull remains Max Verstappen’s ‘priority’

Additional reporting Thomas Maher

That’s because Mercedes unexpectedly have a seat available for next year’s championship after Hamilton sensationally announced he’s quitting the team.

This season marks what will be the Briton’s 12th and final year with the team with whom he won six of his seven World titles as he’s off to Ferrari in 2025.

Wolff has been urged by certain quarters of the press to do everything he can to sign Verstappen as his replacement as the Dutchman, having taken the World title from Hamilton in 2021, has brought his tally up to three on the trot with a fourth seemingly imminent.

But in the age-old debate of car versus driver, a Formula 1 driver is only as good as his car. And right now, Wolff admits, that the best car on the grid is the Red Bull.

As such, he doesn’t see the 26-year-old being open to an offer from Mercedes.

“I think the driver will always choose the quickest car, that is fundamentally what it’s all about,” he told the media including PlanetF1.com.

“At the moment, Red Bull is the quickest car so that will, in my opinion, always be the priority.”

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Verstappen began his title defence in Bahrain with an emphatic victory as he took the chequered flag 22 seconds ahead of his Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez.

The nearest non-Red Bull driver was Carlos Sainz, a further 2.6s back, while George Russell was the best-placed Mercedes driver in fifth place. He, however, was 46.7s behind Verstappen at the line.

“I think today Max is not in a different league but he’s in a different galaxy,” said Wolff. “The performance is extraordinary.”

Asked whether he thinks Red Bull could win every race in 2024, Toto said:

“Unfortunately yes. You need to acknowledge his performance levels, they are very strong.”

Despite Wolff’s belief Red Bull remain Verstappen’s priority, Helmut Marko says he wouldn’t be surprised if the Austrian hadn’t already approached the driver about a move to Mercedes.

“I would be surprised if they hadn’t,” he told Krone Zeitung. “But Max is a very loyal driver.”

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