Toto Wolff discusses plans and intentions to sign Max Verstappen

The Mercedes boss is someone who expects that from 2026 there could be many changes

by Sead Dedovic
Toto Wolff discusses plans and intentions to sign Max Verstappen
© Clive Rose/Getty Images Sport

Mercedes is unwilling to give up on Max Verstappen, despite Red Bull's leaders reacting negatively to such an option day by day. For weeks now, speculation about the Dutchman's future has been circulating, and statements from Mercedes' boss indicate that these rumors are not mere coincidences. He has been emphasizing for weeks that he wants Verstappen on the team, believing he can achieve his goal. 

Listening to the statements from Red Bull's executives and Max Verstappen, one cannot help but sense a certain unease. Although the main figures of this team emphasize that Max will stay, their statements do not seem so convincing. 

Mercedes will be without Lewis Hamilton next season and is searching for a driver to replace him. Toto Wolff, in an interview with Sky Sports, had slightly different statements regarding Verstappen, suggesting that the Dutchman does not want to be part of their team next season. As a primary argument, the Mercedes boss believes that the car Verstappen has at Red Bull gives him a guarantee for success.

“Would Max Verstappen decide to join Mercedes in 2025? No. There is no reason. Why would he?” -Toto Wolff told Sky Sports, as quoted by Crash.

“The car is ultra dominant. Maybe he will win every race. A driver will always seek that machine. That has changed over the past few weeks and months.“

The Mercedes boss is someone who expects that from 2026 there could be many changes, expecting Mercedes to likely take the lead then. Wolff believes that Verstappen could consider his future then, but he is still unsure how open the 26-year-old is to such an option. 

Max Verstappen currently has no reason to leave Red Bull, considering he has a dominant car, the support of team leaders, and a valid contract. He has solid foundations to win the championship this season and potentially in the coming seasons. The question, however, is whether the Dutchman will be hungry for new challenges and success.

“Maybe there is a window. But 2026 is our main year where lots of things will change.

I think it could be attractive to drive with us. But whether it’s Max, and whether he can get out of his contract? I don’t know.”- he continued.

Max Verstappen wins Spanish GP
Max Verstappen wins Spanish GP© Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images Sport

In Wolff's view, if Mercedes can create a competitive car by 2026, they will have a strong advantage in persuading Verstappen to join them, regardless of any contractual clauses. He emphasized that if a driver desires to leave a team, it's difficult to retain them. However, he stressed that Mercedes' strategy focuses primarily on themselves: creating a fast car that will naturally appeal to top drivers. Wolff highlighted that while driver movements are important, the priority remains ensuring Mercedes has a competitive car, as this is crucial for attracting and retaining talent in Formula 1.

Mercedes has shown that they are a team that possesses top qualities, and a team that can dominate in the coming years. Fans of this team know what this team has done in the past, and what their capacities are. It will be necessary for them to work on the car in the future, which is the most important step if they want to attract a quality driver.

Judging by the current situation, some names are mentioned, and Mercedes could rely on the junior team, hiring Kimi Antonelli, a 17-year-old who impresses.

Wolff pointed out that it is probably still too early to give the young Italian a chance, but he did not rule out such a possibility. Antonelli is aware that he is in a great opportunity, patiently waiting for his chance.

Toto Wolff on Carlos Sainz

Carlos Sainz was also mentioned as one of the options. Wolff admitted he holds sympathy for the Spaniard, who is leaving Ferrari after this season. The Mercedes boss considers Ferrari's driver underrated and emphasizes that he is someone who works hard. 

Wolff will need to speed up with the decision, believing that no one will wait for them in the long term, hinting that a decision could be made in November. 

Replacing Lewis Hamilton will be challenging. The Briton, who has made history with the German team for years, is closing a chapter in his career and opening a new one at Ferrari. Hamilton hopes Ferrari will offer everything necessary to create dominance. His intentions are to return to the podium and win championships once more. His hunger for success seems never-ending.

The time is obviously for young blood, those drivers who want to prove themselves. Antonelli could be a great option, but let's wait and see how the situation unfolds. It will be interesting.

Toto Wolff Max Verstappen Mercedes