Toto Wolff highlights a ‘trigger’ behind potential Max Verstappen Mercedes move

Jamie Woodhouse
Max Verstappen with a prominent Mercedes badge alongside him.

Could the current uncertainty at Red Bull lure Max Verstappen to Mercedes?

While Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff said they are not actively trying to entice Max Verstappen to join, he feels some “wobbles” on the track for Red Bull could be the “trigger” for him to consider a move.

Mercedes has already found themselves at the centre of a major F1 2024 ‘silly season’ driver move with their seven-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton confirming that he will be a Ferrari driver as of 2025, but they have been extensively linked with another involving three-time World Champion Verstappen.

Red Bull ‘wobbles’ could trigger Max Verstappen to Mercedes

Off-track tensions at Red Bull which dominated the headlines in the early stages of F1 2024 sparked intense speculation over Verstappen’s future, Wolff stoking that fire by admitting he would “love” to sign the dominant Dutchman as they search for Hamilton’s 2025 replacement.

And Wolff was not giving much away when Sky F1 pressed him on whether we could see Verstappen in a Mercedes next season?

“Well at the end, Max is in the quickest car and this is what a driver is always going to look at,” said Wolff.

“And he’s in a fantastic place in his career and then it will be a decision that is up to him to say, ‘Is it an environment that I’d like to change and if yes, where do I want to go?'”

The F1 regulations are stable until 2026, so judging by Verstappen’s dominance of the ground effect era so far, it seems extremely unrealistic to believe that he will not at least challenge for the 2024 and 2025 titles, having comfortably won the 2024 Bahrain and Saudi Arabian GPs.

2026 though marks a huge reset, as new chassis and power unit regulations come into force, at which point Red Bull will become a power unit manufacturer in their own right in collaboration with Ford.

And when asked whether Mercedes could try to sell their F1 2026 project to Verstappen, Wolff said a “wobble” such as Red Bull starting out that new era poorly could be the “trigger” for Verstappen to consider switching teams.

“I think the trigger for him maybe thinking about other options is because they have some wobbles going through their team,” Wolff suggested.

“And I think we’ve got to give him time to think how he wants to sort out his future, without giving it a push from our side.” recommends

Seven must-see F1 weekends to tick off your 2024 bucket list – and how to get there as cheaply as possible

The 12 drivers out of contract at the end of the F1 2024 season

As for Verstappen’s take on the matter, he has made it clear that he intends on honouring his long-term Red Bull contract which runs until the end of 2028.

When asked if he would remain a Red Bull driver all the way through until 2028, Verstappen told reporters in Melbourne: “That’s why, of course, I signed the deal in the first place.

“And what I said before also, I’m happy within the team and, of course, it’s very important that we try to keep the key players in the team for a longer period of time because that’s what goes with the performances as well.

“At the end of the day, it’s a performance business. It’s the same as if I wouldn’t perform, I wouldn’t be sitting here, so I know how that works.

“But yeah, for sure, with the deal in place, that is also my intention for sure, to be here until the end because, of course, it would be a great story for me personally also, if you just see it out to the end because it means that I’ve been part of one family and one team.”

Mercedes already has one driver in place for 2025 in the form of George Russell, with Verstappen joining the likes of Fernando Alonso, Carlos Sainz, Alex Albon and Kimi Antonelli as racers linked with becoming Hamilton’s Mercedes replacement for next season.

Read next: Christian Horner ‘Super CEO’ rumours quashed as ‘commitment is to Red Bull’