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Max Verstappen: Toto Wolff doesn't rule out meeting with Red Bull driver over F1 move to Mercedes

Mercedes remain keen on signing Max Verstappen amid apparent tension at Red Bull off the track; Lewis Hamilton's move to Ferrari for 2025 F1 season means Mercedes are looking for a driver to partner George Russell next year

Max Verstappen and Toto Wolff
Image: Max Verstappen and Toto Wolff

Toto Wolff has not ruled out holding a meeting with Max Verstappen to discuss the possibility of replacing Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes.

Wolff has talked up Verstappen since the start of the season, stating "no team principal wouldn't do handstands" to sign the Dutchman and that he was "waiting" to see how the driver market develops.

Verstappen is contracted to remain with Red Bull until the end of the 2028 season and insists he is intent on staying with the team "at the moment".

After the Miami Grand Prix, Wolff denied a meeting was planned with Verstappen's representatives on Monday but refused to dismiss other talks would be held this month.

"There's always plenty of meetings. I can't really say about the second driver [at Mercedes]," said Wolff.

"I think we've talked about the possibilities. I want to be fair to these guys and not make it look like we are playing chess with humans, because we are not doing that.

"I think we want to take our time, see where Max's thinking goes, and at the same time, monitor the other drivers. Carlos [Sainz] was very strong in Miami again and that's why we are a little bit on an observation mode at the moment."

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Highlights of the Miami Grand Prix where Lando Norris became the 21st driver from the United Kingdom to win a Formula 1 race

Verstappen, who finished second behind Lando Norris in Miami, has consistently made it clear he wants to be in the fastest car and in the "right environment".

It appears the most decisive factor in the 26-year-old's F1 future is which team he thinks will be best placed when the new 2026 regulations begin, as the pecking order will almost certainly change.

Wolff thinks Verstappen is the key chess piece in this year's driver market for all the teams.

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George Russell reflects on Adrian Newey's Red Bull departure while discussing the possibility of both Verstappen and Newey becoming moving to Mercedes

"As I said before, if I was him, I wouldn't leave, at least for 2025. But it's all in his… he's the leading the driver, he's the top guy at the moment and that's why it's for him to take those decisions," Wolff added.

"There may not be any decisions to take, maybe everything continues like it is, but that is then also guidance for us."

Wolff: Mercedes seeing more Red Bull CVs on all levels

Prior to the Miami Grand Prix, Red Bull confirmed Adrian Newey was stepping back from his role as chief technical officer of the Formula 1 team with immediate effect and will work on other projects before he is allowed to leave in early 2025.

It has been widely reported that Newey's decision to leave was influenced by a cooling of his relationship with Horner, with public feuding at the top of the team further disillusioning the 65-year-old. Horner has denied the claims.

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Ted Kravitz tells us all about the 'genius' of Newey after the news he will be leaving Red Bull

Horner insisted that he does not expect an exodus following Newey's departure, but McLaren chief executive Zak Brown claims his team have seen an "increase in CVs" coming from Red Bull employees, which Wolff also agreed with from Mercedes' perspective.

"Zak is absolutely correct. We are seeing Red Bull CVs through all of the levels. But I would say this isn't anything out of the extraordinary. People change teams and want to change environment," said Wolff.

"I've come to the point that I'm not really interested what's going on there with the leadership, not listening to anything anymore. I think it's important for us to look at our team, develop the strong people and hopefully get some interesting, competent people from other teams into Mercedes and provide an exciting journey to recovery."

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McLaren CEO Zak Brown says he's not surprised Newey is walking away from Red Bull

Horner was asked about Brown and Wolff's comments and revealed Red Bull have taken over 200 people from Mercedes to work on their new 2026 power unit, which will be made in-house in partnership with Ford.

"The two candidates involved talk a lot. I'm not going to get sucked in for a tit for tat. I would be more focused on Toto's own issues that he has. I don't have any concern with the strength and depth [of Red Bull]," said Horner.

"Of course there is always going to be movement between teams. I don't know how many people we have employed by McLaren this year? Mercedes, we have taken 220 people. 220 out of HPP into Red Bull powertrains.

"So when we are talking about losing people, I would be more worried than about the 220 people, than one or two CVs."

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Christian Horner feels Newey just wants to take some time for himself and has earned the right to step away when the Red Bull is on top

Wolff hits back at Red Bull CEO Mintzlaff

Newey's exit comes with Red Bull on a historically dominant streak, with Verstappen chasing a fourth successive drivers' title and the team a third successive constructors' title this year.

Wolff's pursuit of Verstappen has seemingly upset Red Bull, with Horner stating Wolff's time "would be better spent perhaps focusing on the team rather than the driver market".

Red Bull managing director Oliver Mintzlaff criticised Wolff for his public remarks about his interest in Verstappen.

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Sky F1's Ted Kravitz reflects on all the big talking points from the Miami Grand Prix where Norris claimed his first victory in Formula 1

"I understand the pressure Toto Wolff, and perhaps other teams, are under after years of being behind," Mintzlaff told Germany's Bild.

"But I think Wolff should focus on his own problems. He has enough of those. And it also has something to do with respect when you keep talking about other teams' personnel. That's not appropriate."

Wolff was asked about the comments and said: "I don't know what this guy is commenting on. It has no relevance for me."

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