Mercedes’ F1 boss Toto Wolff wants Max Verstappen

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Mercedes-AMG is waiting to see if reigning F1 Max Verstappen chooses to leave Red Bull before making any other driver moves for the 2025 season, boss Toto Wolff said in a recent interview with Racer.

“He’s the leading driver,” Wolff said, adding that Verstappen may not leave Red Bull, where he’s contracted until the end of the 2028 season. But the possibility of Verstappen departing Red Bull, where he’s been dominating F1 for the past few years, is putting the rest of the F1 driver market on hold, Wolff said, reiterating a point he made in another interview just after the 2024 Chinese Grand Prix a few weeks ago.

2024 Formula 1 Japanese Grand Prix – Photo credit: Getty Images

Despite Red Bull’s current competitiveness, some cracks are beginning to show. Verstappen has said he would leave if certain key personnel—such as motorsport advisor Helmut Marko—were to leave, according to Racer. Mercedes, meanwhile, is looking for a driver to replace seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton, who signed with Ferrari for 2025. And Wolff did not rule out future talks to put Verstappen in that seat.

“I think we want to take our time and see where Max’s thinking goes and at the same time monitor the other drivers,” Wolff said. One of those other drivers is Carlos Sainz, the only non-Red Bull driver to win a race in the past 18 months, who is being booted from Ferrari to make way for Hamilton.

Max Verstappen at the 2023 Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - Photo credit: Getty Images

Max Verstappen at the 2023 Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Photo credit: Getty Images

While Verstappen may very well remain with Red Bull, the departure of design legend Adrian Newey and reported confidence in Mercedes’ power-unit development progress ahead of new 2026 regulations may already be triggering an exodus of technical personnel from the team.

McLaren boss Zak Brown has said the team has received multiple approaches from Red Bull personnel, something Wolff confirmed to Racer, but claiming that it is “not anything out of the ordinary.”

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