I want Max Verstappen to join Mercedes, says Toto Wolff

Toto Wolff has said Max Verstappen wants to join Mercedes next year but doubts his team's car is competitive enough to lure the reigning champion away from Red Bull.

Despite winning the opening two rounds of the 2024 season, Verstappen has been linked with a move away from Red Bull as a result of a series of controversies and divisions within the team.

Verstappen hinted that his own presence at Red Bull would continue in the 80-year-old's position, amid suggestions this week that close partner Helmut Marko could be suspended.

With Lewis Hamilton set to move from Mercedes to Ferrari at the end of this season, Wolff said he would be willing to offer the seat to Verstappen in 2025, but doubts the current Mercedes car is competitive enough to move him.

„Let's put it this way, I think it's Max's decision to make, but there's no team up and down the grid that wouldn't do a handstand to keep him in the car,” Wolff said.

„I'd love to have him, but first we have to sort out our car. First, we owe George. [Russell] And Lewis needs to improve the car and give them good equipment before they start dreaming about the future next year.”

Wolff doubts that Verstappen, his father Jose and his manager Raymond Vermeulen will ultimately be won over by Red Bull's dominant performance.

„As I said before, a driver always tries to be in the fastest car,” he added. “It gives you better opportunities to win races and championships, which is where Max is at the moment.

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„But even Max … Jose and Max and Raymond are very straight, sometimes uncomfortably straight people, and I think they make up their minds about that. [on]. But basically I think a racing driver should be in the best car.”

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