Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Sochi Autodrom, 2017

Verstappen will drive for Mercedes one day – Wolff

2017 F1 season

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Toto Wolff still expects to bring Max Verstappen to Mercedes one day, the team principal has revealed.

Speaking to the Dutch programme Peptalk, Wolff answered “yes” when asked if Verstappen would be a Mercedes driver in the future.

Jolyon Palmer, Renault, Sochi Autodrom, 2017
Russian GP in pictures
Mercedes made approaches to Verstappen and his team mate Daniel Ricciardo during the off-season following Nico Rosberg’s retirement. However both are understood to have long-term deals with their current teams.

Red Bull signed Verstappen in 2014 while he was driving in Formula Three. Mercedes also courted Verstappen at the same time, but the offer of a Toro Rosso drive for 2015 brought him into the Red Bull fold.

The 19-year-old won his first race after being promoted from Toro Rosso to Red Bull last year. The team has not been in contention for victories so far this year but expects a major step forward from their upgrade at the next race in Spain, the scene of Verstappen’s win.

“We maximised the opportunities we had [in Sochi] so now we can look forward to Barcelona,” said Verstappen. “The upgrades are coming and we can hopefully start to get involved in the fight at the front.”

“Barcelona is obviously a very special track for me following last year’s race so I am excited to return and see what we can do.”

Lewis Hamilton will enter the final year of his current Mercedes contract next season. Valtteri Bottas, who scored a breakthrough victory in Sochi last weekend, does not yet have a deal in place yet to drive for the team in 2018.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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66 comments on “Verstappen will drive for Mercedes one day – Wolff”

  1. It’s gonna take a lot to get me awayyyyy from you

    1. The wild dogs cry out in the night
      As they grow restless, longing for some solitary company
      I know that I must do what’s right

      1. I bless the rains down in AAAAAAFRICAAAAAAA

        1. Lol you guys, with Toto joke.

        2. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
          2nd May 2017, 13:31

          @unicron2002 @hahostolze

          Ha-ha-ha! I had those lyrics down wrong for 35 years!

          Missiles flying over your head
          If you want to survive get out of bed!

          Sorry, wrong song:-)

    2. Tony Mansell
      2nd May 2017, 17:14

      Cry Wolf?
      Time to worry now

      1. That’s the joke. The song fits in more than one way.

  2. Wolff to give Red Bull Mercedes engines in exchange of Verstappen, you read it here first

    1. you read it here first

      Just out of interest, Sumedh, what is your intention adding that to your comment?
      Seriously, I’d like to know.

      1. Just so that no one confuses it to be a real news that I am quoting without a source.

        1. Similar to Trump then ;)

      2. So then he claim to be a prophet if it turns out to be true? Wouldn’t mind that tbh

    2. Or Wolff gives mclaren mercedes engines in exhange for alonso. You read that first here too.

      1. I think if at the end of the season Honda don’t get to a good engine Mclaren will think of changing their engines for sure. But they will have to put in consideration that Mercedes will never give them the very same engine to be championship contenders.

        1. They have to give the same engine, it’s in the rulebook.

          1. Ha !
            Same engine ? Same software ? Same fuel and oils ? Same backend support access and data review ?
            Don’t be silly… the works team will always have the edge.

    3. Actually a Mercedes engine will do a lot more for Red Bull than Verstappen.

      1. True. Getting the Merc engine and replacig VER with SAI would overall be better for RedBull Racing than keeping VER and stay with Renault…

  3. Am I the only one baffled by how many crazy things the 3 big Austrians of F1 (sorry Wurz, you didn’t make the cut for that yet) are constantly saying? I mean what person in power says something like that out loud?

    1. @hunocsi Don’t take it too seriously.

      It’s was just a light harted segment of a Dutch F1 show and I’m a little surprised it’s taken out of that context and portrayed as a serious news item.

      In this case Toto only get’s to awnser 10 rapid fire questions with ‘Yes’ or ‘No’. He may use a red card only once if he doesn’t want to awnser. At the end of the 10 questions he gets to eloborate on one question.

      Basically, it’s the perfect Kimi-interview-format :)

      1. @jeffreyj @datt I see, thanks. Still, I’d think something like that should be his red card-question. What did he use that for then?

        1. @hunocsi A question about whether Nico Rosberg should have stayed this year defending his title. And that was asked before the question regarding Max.

      2. @jeffreyj A bit like how I’m not sure I’d take Wolff’s nod at EJ on Sunday that seriously either?

      3. @jeffreyj

        it’s taken out of that context

        What matters here is whether we should take his answer at face value. I don’t agree that the format of this interview means we shouldn’t. Wolff even queried whether the question referred to the ‘near future’ and still gave his positive answer. And he had an opportunity to add more at the end in which he could have qualified his remarks but chose not to.

        If someone makes a comment and adds ‘I’m joking’ afterwards, of course I’m not going to take that as a straight answer. But that isn’t the case here. (I recall this being the case recently with something Hamilton said, wish I could remember the exact quote, but of course it wasn’t used here!)

        And I think taking the question format thing at face value is a bit naive. He’s a grown-up, if he doesn’t want to answer a question he doesn’t have to.

        Of course whether Wolff seriously believes Verstappen will be driving for him in the near future is another matter. He might have just said this to wind Christian Horner up.

        1. I am pretty sure that Wolff would be very happy to lure Verstappen to Red Bull sooner rather than later, regardless of whether he thinks it is possible right now, or in a few years.

          And if it suited the purpose of riling up Horner a bit (and Marko), then all the better! I think that if Red Bull fail to give Verstappen a car that can win, he might be looking for other options for 2018 already!

          1. I don’t see Max going to Merc any time soon, but given how much career he has ahead of him I think it is a safe bet that one day he will drive for them. If Ferrari has their way they will be the team to beat after this season so Max may see as much potential in staying where he is rather than going to Merc who may have catching up to do just like RBR. Anyway for now I’m sure Max hasn’t a single thought of going elsewhere for at least a few years. His mindset will be 100% RBR right now and everything else is such a huge unknown that it isn’t even worth the moment to contemplate for him.

        2. @keithcollantine

          My remark that it was taken out of context was a bit harsh and I do get where you coming from. It’s just not a very serious segment, that’s all I meant to say really.

        3. But, but the rules of the game? He could only use one red card!

    2. @hunocsi – Christian Horner is Austrian? ;)

      1. @bullmello I didn’t say all the others were sane! :)

  4. Little nuance: the interview only allowd yes or no answers as part of a game. When asked if VER will be a Merc driver in the near future, he hesitated en said yes with a smile.

    1. Ok, that makes it better.

    2. @keithcollantine … shouldn’t this be mentioned with the news?

      Also as @jeffreyj said

      It’s was just a light hearted segment of a Dutch F1 show and I’m a little surprised it’s taken out of that context and portrayed as a serious news item.

      In this case Toto only get’s to answer 10 rapid fire questions with ‘Yes’ or ‘No’. He may use a red card only once if he doesn’t want to answer. At the end of the 10 questions he gets to elaborate on one question.

      1. It’s called clickbaiting

        Throw up a slightly sensationalist headline, add some filler, a couple of quotes from people that aren’t fully to do with the headline and hey presto you have internet traffic.

        Not slagging off Keith in any way by the way, it’s all part of the game in journalism, but if it was a semi joking, throwaway comment in a Dutch F1 show and portrayed as such in the article, less people would​ be interested

    3. Here’s the actual interview for those interested. Toto also had a red card so he wouldn’t have to answer one question, but he already used it ;)

      1. Sadly that is interview is geoblocked outside of the Netherlands.

        1. Nothing Hulu can’t fix ;)

  5. I think Mercedes are in the process of pushing Hamilton out for whatever reason, Max would be a great replacement for the team.

    1. I feel there have been a few cracks in the relationship with Lewis over the past season. I feel that the team ignored the cracks when Rosberg retired, but its something that could come back to haunt them.

      Don’t get me wrong, I think Lewis is a fantastic driver and definitely among the top 2 or 3 choices for any team principal, but I feel his focus isn’t 100% on Formula 1. In 2017, the title might go to Vettel primarily for this reason. Vettel’s work ethic, focus, hunger and mental attitude seems much stronger than Lewis’. Mercedes would want a driver with that more Vettel’s qualities than Lewis’ once the going gets tough.

      1. And when you want a driver with Vettel qualities… Funny one just like that lacks 2018 contract.

        1. Couldn’t make any sense of …

          Funny one just like that lacks 2018 contract

          1. @todfod
            Funny one just like that lacks 2018 contract

            –> Isn’t it Funny that someone just like that (i.e. a driver with Vettel’s qualities, i.e. Vettel) lacks a 2018 contract?

            Or, in plain text: Vettel doesn’t have a contract for 2018, Mercedes should hire him. Says Jureo.

          2. Aaaah.. ok

            Yeah.. I agree. If Ferrari underperforms for the remaining of the season and drops the ball again in a WDC run for Seb, then there’s a good chance he’ll leave for Mercedes. Or else, it will be hard for Mercedes to poach him off Ferrari.

    2. Oh yeah, that has to be why Lewis performed so badly at Sochi. Sobotage

      1. No, it’s because he was out late partying in Sochi the night before with his rapper friends.

        Or maybe it was the gold chains slowing him down.

        Or maybe he’s confused by all the blinking lights.

        Or maybe he just had an off weekend and a temperamental car at a track that’s never suited him.

        1. It’s never suited him except for his victories in 2014 and 2015…

    3. SevenFiftySeven
      2nd May 2017, 16:20

      If I may, I’d like to expand on that. Bottas just won a race with Mercedes (in his 4th attempt) after having gone dry for over 81 GPs. If Wolff was giving out a message, that message is – Mercedes is the team to be, one where you’ll meet your dreams. This goes out to existing and aspiring F1 drivers that believe they have what it takes to win. It’s a win-win scenario for Mercedes whether Wolff was just answering a question in a program or if he really wanted to get a message out.

      Either way, Mercedes F1 team’s profile gets elevated. Existing Mercedes drivers are indirectly pressured to get their best out every race. Other teams’ star drivers are lured to Mercedes, much to the chagrin of other teams’ principals. We do not know what other drivers in other teams think about Mercedes, but one thing is clear. As of right now, it’s a race winning team, and if you have what it takes, you can beat Lewis at times and get that maiden race win. Recently, Max was heard saying that he can beat Lewis, so Wolff’s comment would sound interesting to Max, himself, on the one hand, and throw a verbal punch to Christian Horner for his comments on the drivers’ championship at Mercedes last year, on the other. The comment is more about Mercedes’ profile and less about Lewis. But, the hint to Lewis is also there, and that is, beat Valleteri in every race and help with the WCC, or be potentially replaced.

      This is also a message to some Hamilton fans who do Hamilton more harm than good in pressuring Mercedes to write letters of clarification to them. The constructor is bigger than the driver, and with a brand like Mercedes, the last thing they want to do is to constantly address preposterous wild theories some fans come up with every day. When was the last time a works team in F1 wrote an actual letter to a fanbase to quell unjustified claims made by the fabase? Is Ferrari going to do it? No chance! Mercedes’ ideal goal may be to sell the most cars in the UK. The Volkswagen saga has been a boon for them. The Dutch market is also lucrative. That’s where Max’s marketability comes in. If Mercedes is in a position where they are one of the top choices for vehicles in the UK, they may want to move to secure a foothold in the Dutch market also, not to mention Finland. Teams have the big picture in mind (unlike Williams). They employ drivers to meet their ends. Williams gives their drivers to other brands and don’t get much in return. Maybe, the deal was a better engine, which Massa has exploited, and maybe, Williams now knows where they stand compared to last year. They only know. Should Stroll have partnered someone else, they wouldn’t know and would have no clue while ending 8th and below, or even if they finished 5th. I hope people who criticized this move now understand why they called back Massa. F1 can be a fanatical pursuit as well as a big picture into people’s motives and their actions. Sticking to just 1 or the other aspect only promotes a single perspective.

      1. Very well explained.

      2. You had me until “dutch market”.
        If any market is important to Mercedes it would be USA, China, Russia, Brasil or lots of others with more than 2000 cars a year sales. If dutch sales triple it’s 6000. That’s a 2% increase in USA sales.

        1. SevenFiftySeven
          3rd May 2017, 9:05

          @verstappen, Yes based on the numbers you’ve provided, it makes sense for Merc to want to grow in the US versus the Netherlands. Thanks for pointing out those numbers.

  6. Wow very clickbait, if i hadn’t read the comments i would have completely misunderstood the context of this answer.

    1. I disagree. I think given the length of career Max has ahead of him it is almost inevitable that one day he will drive for Merc. I didn’t feel baited by the headline at all. I haven’t thought of Max as anything other than an RBR driver for the foreseeable future. ‘One day’ can be 5 or 10 years from now given his age.

      1. Its quite a sensational headline. Its making it sound like Wolff is guaranteeing it and is actively looking for it compared to the reality of a yes/no fire question round.

  7. maarten.f1 (@)
    2nd May 2017, 11:12

    Must be a slow news day…

  8. Is there a team principal that would not sign Max, on acceptable terms to both sides, if they had the opportunity?
    Right, no, there is not.

  9. Max clearly is most hyped about driver of the moment. In Mercedes, he would probably do quite well.

    I personally dislike Ham and Ves pereonality traits quite a bit. I’d much rather have say Bottas and Daniel Riciardo and most certainly Vettel on my team.

    But they are good, when you want hottest star of the moment and hotest star of the future… You grab Ham and Max.

    Toto needs to make these kind of offers all the time, just to entertain RBR and attract media. It is part of his job. Nobody would make news if he said he was happy with this lineup.

    1. That’s what I liked most about this answer. Totally not going to happen next year (original question was; Will Verstappen drive for Mercedes in the NEAR future.)

      But the fact he answered yes eventually says how much desired Verstappen is. If the question was, for example, Wehrlein, Ocon, Leclerc, Vandoorne, how big would the chance have been to get a “yes’ form Herr Wolff?

  10. Well, it’s kind of a no-brainer and easy to say yes to. Verstappen is in his third year, has established himself among the top 5 drivers and his only 19 still. Compare that to the 35+ guys like Massa, Alonso and Raikkonen are. Simple math: 35 – 19 = 16. Potentially he has 16 years, it’s a no-brainer to assume that as long as he can keep his performance up to current standards, he will either drive for Ferrari or Mercedes in the future.

    Furthermore, Toto was the first to present Verstappen an F1 contract, after which Helmut came along and agreed to bring him into F1 at 17 and guarantee him a Red Bull drive at 19 (this year). Toto could only offer a Williams or Sauber drive and probably not at 17 yet, with a possible future promotion to Mercedes, but without any guarantees. Toto has always been very positive about Verstappen in public and has peviously commented that Verstappen was probably the only driver in the next 5 years he would see fit to replace Hamilton in case he moves on.

    1. NeverSummer
      2nd May 2017, 15:35

      Did Toto really said this? Verstappen being the only driver, in his eyes, to replace Lewis with in the next 5 years??

  11. Interesting comments. Does anyone believe that Mercedes would NOT want to sign Verstappen some time in the future?

  12. Is there any information on how long verstappen and ricciardo have left on their red bull contracts?

  13. The one thing I take from this is that Toto feels fairly confident Mercedes will be on top long enough for this to happen.

    1. The one thing I take from this is that Toto feels fairly confident Mercedes will be on top long enough for this to happen.

      If Mad Max drives for Merc, the car will really be on top…….of someone.

  14. Christian Horner : In your dreams !

  15. Etienne Victoria
    3rd May 2017, 8:59

    In this video Nicky Lauda, also MB if you did’nt know has something to say about Verstappen. It seems Max has a rather large fanbase inside MB:

Comments are closed.