Max Verstappen, Lewis Hamilton, Yas Marina, 2020

Verstappen ‘not thinking about’ chance to replace Hamilton at Mercedes next year

2021 F1 season

Posted on

| Written by and

Max Verstappen says he isn’t dwelling on the possibility of joining Mercedes next year, after his team principal Christian Horner said he would be ‘top of their list’.

Horner made the remarks after Lewis Hamilton renewed his Mercedes contract for a single year, prompting speculation he will leave F1 after this season.

“At the end of the day I don’t know, of course, what Lewis is going to do,” said Verstappen today. “I just focus on myself.

“I’m very focussed on this year and trying to make it a success. So early in the season, with only a basically a shakedown, those kind of things I’m not really thinking about at this stage.”

Verstappen is going into his sixth year with Red Bull. The team’s engine supplier, Honda, will pull out at the end of the season.

Red Bull is setting up its own engine operation, Red Bull Powertrains, to continue producing the engines for the 2022 F1 season and beyond. Verstappen said that development “doesn’t change anything for me.”

“I mean, it’s exciting, but at the same time I’m also not too focused on that at the moment,” he said in response to a question from RaceFans. “We are living in the moment trying to have a good season, first of all, this year. The smart people in the background who will handle those kind of things with the engine.”

“It’s of course very important in that it happened, that it was signed off,” Verstappen added. “But that’s it.

“I’m very relaxed, very calm. I just want to focus on this year, that’s for me more important. It’s nice of course have that in the background but that’s sorted.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2021 F1 season

Browse all 2021 F1 season articles

Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

12 comments on “Verstappen ‘not thinking about’ chance to replace Hamilton at Mercedes next year”

  1. Unless I’m missing something had not TW already implied that he(they) and LH just needed more time to suss out the details of the rest of his contract. i.e. don’t we all expect at some point this season, and sooner than later, to hear of LH committing through 2023? At least that’s what I’m expecting anyway, so yeah of course Max is only thinking about this season and little else. I mean I’m sure if there was a sudden shock announcement that this would be LH’s last season the F1 world would be sent into a total tizzy and Max would of course have no choice but to be brought into the maelstrom, but really…

    1. One would almost think that the media asks silly questions just to get some quotes to fill the web pages.
      As long as they can distillate a catchy headline from those quotes.

      1. @coldfly Lol ‘almost.’

  2. If I was Max, I would just stay at RBR until 2023. No engine development and all new aero sounds like an ideal situation for Red Bull.

    1. @talus21 Couldn’t agree more and have been saying the same ever since they all agreed to the new concept cars that were supposed to be for this year, and of course without knowing of the engine freeze either. I’ve assumed all along that LH would still be at Mercedes for the new gen, so where better for Max to be than with his family at RBR?

    2. I’d go further and suggest than no top driver will be looking for a new seat in 2022 because all of them will want to get a feel for which team adapts to the new regulations the best.

      It’s most likely going to be Mercedes and RBR because they currently deliver the best designed chassis, as evidenced by their being well clear of the field, but there’s always a chance that they, or one of them could get it wrong.

      All we can hope for is that RBR actually start the season this year as well as they finished last year, something they’ve consistently failed to do over the past several seasons. If they don’t, that could possibly trigger Max to look around.

  3. Leaving aside what Verstappen or Hamilton wants to do come 2022, you’d assume that Mercedes has the pick of the drivers and will probably be choosing between Hamilton, Bottas, Russell and Verstappen (maybe Ocon as well as an outside chance). I genuinely don’t know which two I’d try to sign if I was Toto Wolff; assuming Hamilton-Verstappen won’t happen.

    There comes a point when the junior programme has to mean something, so surely you’d be looking to promote Russell, especially given his performance in Bahrain. But Russell isn’t a proven superstar, which leaves a Bottas-Russell partnership looking slightly underwhelming. Hamilton surely doesn’t have too many years left in him (he may well surprise me here!) and probably won’t be too motivated to take on a new, hungry team-mate. At some point they’ll have to look to the next team leader and Verstappen is the only other driver on the grid who has proven himself to consistently be one.

    I think Verstappen-Russell for 2022 is a fearsome prospect and maybe not unrealistic. It gives credibility to the junior programme, shows their power by stealing their closest competitor’s lead driver and futureproofs the line up with two 24 year olds. What then happens with Hamilton and Bottas I don’t know; you’d assume Hamilton would retire, while Bottas would be a solid choice to lead a midfield team…

    I love the speculation!

  4. The “very relaxed, very calm” -comment sounds more than about the possible vacancy at Mercedes or RBs future engine plans, and more about “living in the moment trying to have a good season”. Encouraged by this. It’s like he’s preparing for a championship battle. Putting effort into not let things get to him as they have had a tendency to do.

    The real question is what Red Bull will do if Mercedes poaches Verstappen. Can you imagine Red Bull with a Gasly and Perez? They probably should try to poach Leclerc then.

    Curious how you contact people like Verstappen? Email, SMS or what?

    1. Curious how you contact people like Verstappen? Email, SMS or what?

      Directly through his father. Jos Verstappen friends with Toto Wolff, and both know each others families.

  5. Lewis will retire when he has a major accident with a golf club. Or has 10 WDCs, whichever comes first.

  6. Mercedes don’t want Verstappen. Let Verstappen first deal with a strong teammate/WDC teammate before linking him with a Mercedes sear, i get so tired people trying to link Verstappen to Mercedes despite Verstappen has done nothing special. And if it all the car as you Hamilton haters love to say so why should go for Verstappen ? Or does that not count anymore ?

  7. @noname Getting Verstappen basically removes the Red Bull threat. It’s basic math.

Comments are closed.