Max Verstappen, George Russell, Circuit de Catalunya, 2024

Mercedes could attract Verstappen for 2026 if he can exit Red Bull contract – Wolff

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In the round-up: Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff believes they can become a convincing option for Max Verstappen if he chooses to leave his Red Bull contract early.

In brief

Drivers moves “not the end of the story” – Wolff

Wolff said there was little chance Verstappen would consider moving to Mercedes when Red Bull’s car was “ultra dominant” but “that has changed over the last few weeks and months.”

“There’s three teams that were competing against each other,” he told Sky. “Hopefully we can demonstrate that we are part of this group now, too. So maybe there is a window.

“But 2026 is our main year where lots of things change and I think it could be quite attractive to drive with us. But whether it’s Max and whether he can get out of his contract, I don’t know.”

The Mercedes team principal said he is unaware whether Verstappen has a clause which could allow him to leave his Red Bull contract early, but said: “I think in any case, if it if a driver doesn’t want to stay somewhere, it’s very difficult to to keep a driver.

“But I’m not relying on that. I think most important is to look at ourselves. The quick car is always going to track the attention of a quick driver. So that’s our main priority. All of these driver movements here is not the end of the story.”

RB used sprint race as practice session

RB team principal Laurent Mekies confirmed they used last weekend’s sprint race to test their cars in different configurations after experiencing problems with the upgrades they introduced at the previous race in Spain.

“In the few days since Barcelona, everyone at the factory and at the track has been working hard on extending our understanding of the updates we introduced in Spain as part of our aggressive development programme,” he said. “That work continued here during the only free practice session, while the sprint [race] also provided us with valuable data.

“It is never ideal to do specifications comparison during a sprint weekend, but we felt that it was a necessary investment for our midterm future. The team and drivers did a very good job putting together the best configuration possible for Saturday and Sunday.”

Bearman eager for Silverstone run

Oliver Bearman will have his latest practice outing for Haas at Silverstone this weekend. “I’ve been counting down the days to it,” he admitted.

“It’s an amazing circuit and it will be a special feeling leaving the pit lane in front of all the British fans.”

He will be one of two Formula 2 drivers in action during the session along with Franco Colapinto at Williams.

Istanbul replica track for sale

A 1.4-kilometre racing circuit modelled on the Istanbul Park circuit is being offered for sale in Texas, USA. The land it sits on and surrounding buildings are being offered for $2 million (£1.58m).

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Comment of the day

Ben wasn’t impressed by the Austrian Grand Prix trophies:

Those trophies have to be among the worst given at any track. They look like they are made of cheap MDF with a vinyl wrap to make it look better than it is. The edges just look so rough and nasty.

They actually would look nice if it was real wood and had more rounded edges.
Ben Rowe (@TheGiantHogweed)

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Avegaille and Andy2286!

On this day in motorsport

  • 30 years ago today Damon Hill pipped new team mate Nigel Mansell to pole in France

Author information

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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25 comments on “Mercedes could attract Verstappen for 2026 if he can exit Red Bull contract – Wolff”

  1. This season is such a disappointment. I was told, by authors and commenters here, that Verstappen would win every race and take every pole position this year.

    11 races, 5 different winning driver and 4 different teams have won.
    And 4 different pole position winners.

    There’s a lesson to be learned here and it’s part of the reason I watch motorsports!

    1. Commenters I understand (I also remember being told HAAS were laughable for having 8th as a target), but you’d be hard pressed to find the authors saying such nonsense. After the first few races it was looking that way, but it was never a foregone conclusion.

      Anyway, it’s turning out to be a good season! Hopefully it continues… I’m not a fan of the Red Bull stable at all this season (for obvious reasons.)

      1. Thanks for the comment. I actually looked back thru about 40 pages on this site and did NOT see any authors/journalists making that claim. A lot, in fact most commenters were saying it though which is quite amusing. I didn’t bother looking at authors outside this site, as this and one other source are my main F1 news websites.

        I also found that thread about Komatsu saying the team is targeting 8th. Comments were equally amusing to the doom about Redbull dominance.

        Thanks for keeping me honest, truly!

      2. I was the one laughing at Haas. My hat off to them as they have actually done it. And those 12 points last Sunday could prove crucial.

    2. Alianora La Canta (@alianora-la-canta)
      2nd July 2024, 3:41

      In fairness, there was more reason to believe that this winter than there was in winter 2023 (which resulted in over 3/4 of the wins and poles going to Max Verstappen).

    3. Red Bull has lost something, which in itself is a bit odd.

      But either way, Verstappen might easily have won more if not for a technical problem (Australia), safety car bungling (Miami), slow pitstop (Austria). That would leave Leclerc as the only non-Verstappen winner in Monaco, which is essentially a parade and not a race.

      1. Think saying he could’ve easily won miami if not for the SC is an exageration: norris was so much faster the last stint that he had the possibility to catch and pass verstappen.

  2. Lando’s race craft was rather gung-ho. He’ll need more finesse, patience, and cunning than that if he wants to start beating Max regularly to win a championship.

    I like this part of the Brundle article… Regardless of whether Verstappen should have been penalised further, it didn’t seem like the greatest race-craft from Norris.

    1. Agreed. Lando looked like he was down on the scorecard in the last seconds of the final round.

      If Max has a slower car he’s more than happy to turn it into a bar fight, regardless of who and what penalties should be dished out, I think Lando might do well to use a bit more composure next time. Max is beatable, but playing bumper cars with him rarely serves anyone well.

      Lando had the pace,

      1. Robert Stanford
        2nd July 2024, 19:14

        Well I see Max hasn’t changed at all. Whenever challenged he almost always crashes his challenger out of the race. F1 needs to do something about his driving style before he kills someone. He has a long history of doing this whenever he is challenged.

    2. I enjoyed watching the battle between Norris & Verstappen, but both of them exhibited very poor racecraft in Austria. We have seen them race cleaner together before.

      Hopefully it was a one-off and we get to see them battling again. As a McLaren fan it is just great to see them performing at the front of the grid.

  3. Of course, contracts are always terminatable by a mutual decision, but in any case, leaving after 2025 is indeed possible, depending on how Red Bull Racing manages the next technical regulation & even more so after 2026.

    ”Clearly tried to impede and collect” Didn’t seem anything like this at all.

    COTD: Well, what do you expect when the trophies are simply track configurations, which is always the case at Red Bull Ring & Monaco, for that matter?

    1. προδότης

      1. I believe in the rules it’s stated that comments should be written in English.

      2. Ops, this was what I meant to post instead of the 2nd link, which can be found on the link: 1. Comments must be posted in English (characters, digits and punctuation).

      3. prodotes (koine Greek) = betrayer or enemy. I assume referring to the possibility of Max breaking his contract. Come on, don’t you guys read Ancient Greek!

  4. Why would Mercedes want Verstappen in the first place? According to the press and comment section he is no good at all and it is just the car.

    1. Well, thats mercs strong point. Building dominant cars and scoring championships……

    2. He speaks German ….. which is for Mercedes a good thing for Germany fans. An Monkey can drive these cars oh wait that was a few years ago.
      We will see what Max decides on the end season …………

      1. That wos zirty yearz ägo, to be precise, now actually forty – ze time flies.

        1. @d0senbrot Marton wanted a reason so i give one …. :)

  5. I’d like to see team bosses stand by their assertions and not be interested in hiring someone who they say drives outside of the rules.
    I understand that he is one of, if not the best driver on the grid at the moment – but he plays dirty.
    If he has to stay at Red Bull when their dominance is over – it might teach him some actual race craft.

    1. Max is an investment opportunity, a marketing appeal. Liberty and Toto won’t let him fade. Because the marketing peeps understand basic human psychology. They also will make sure he is a contender in the future to come, so all this ‘garbage’ with him having issues with his pace, which is probably manufactured by Pirelli, will eventually culminate in a late season showdown, just like most narrative/scripts, made for TV.

  6. I used to think that Peter Ustinov was cool, and now I KNOW that Peter Ustinov was cool!

  7. The mini-Istanbul has edited out the fiddly last chicane which is nice to see.

Comments are closed.