Wolff: Verstappen could still leave Red Bull (2024)

SHANGHAI, China -- Mercedes boss Toto Wolff believes Max Verstappen could still leave Red Bull before the end of his contract due to factors that run deeper than which team has the fastest car.

Verstappen's on-track dominance this year means he is already on course to secure a fourth consecutive title with Red Bull, but turmoil within the team at the start of the season led to speculation he could leave the world champions before his contract expires in 2028.

"There's so many factors that play a role for a driver joining," Wolff said. "Clearly when you look at it from the most rational point of view you can say well, that's the quickest car in the hands of the quickest driver.

"But I don't think that this is the only reason you stay where you are. I think, let's say, for simple minds that might be the only reason why you stay in a car and that's it.

"Maybe there is more depth to other people who consider other factors too and I think Max has depth.

"In that respect are we going to convince him? I don't think it's a matter of convincing.

"I think Max knows motor racing better than anyone and he will take decisions that he feels are good for him and I think a few factors play a role but he's the one that's going to trigger some more domino stones to fall afterwards.

"But everybody's waiting for what he's going to be doing.

"If I was Max, I would stay at Red Bull for 2025, but I'm not Max. It is the quickest car, but there are other factors."

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Speculation Verstappen could leave Red Bull arose earlier this year after allegations of misconduct were made against team boss Christian Horner by a female employee -- allegations he was later cleared of following an independent investigation.

The public nature of the story stoked divisions within the team, with Verstappen's father Jos publicly questioned Horner's position, while the role of Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko, a close ally of the Verstappens, was also being questioned.

In the past month the matter has created fewer headlines, but when Verstappen was asked about his future at Red Bull beyond 2024 on Thursday, he again referenced the need for a "peaceful environment" at the team.

"After 2021, I signed a long deal with the team, and the only thing that I always said from the beginning is that we want to have a quiet and peaceful environment," he said.

"Lately we have been talking about the car, so I am very happy about that, that we are talking about the performance of the car.

"That's how it should be, of course, and as long as I am happy with the team, there has never been a reason to leave."

When it was put to Horner that Wolff -- a long-standing and at times fierce rival of the Red Bull boss -- had hinted at Verstappen leaving, he replied: "I've got to think carefully what I say here...

"I can assure you there is no ambiguity over where Max will be driving next year. It's not about pieces of paper at the end of the day, we know he has a contract to the end of 2028. It's about how he feels in the team and the relationship he has in the team and the way he's performing.

"I don't think Toto's problems are his drivers," he added. "I think he's probably got other elements he needs to be focusing on rather than focusing on drivers that are unavailable."

Asked if he wanted Verstappen to definitively commit his future to the team, Horner added: "Well I don't know how many more times he needs to say it! He's said it numerous times.

"Look, I'm not going to get drawn in. Sometimes it's just designed to create noise.

"We've moved today ahead of the amount of races that Mercedes have won in the modern era. So the team's in form, why on earth would you want to leave this team?

"Mercedes are the third team behind their customers at the moment, so I think [Toto's] time would perhaps be better spent focusing on the team rather than the driver market."

Wolff: Verstappen could still leave Red Bull (1)play

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While Mercedes has not been close to Red Bull's level since the introduction of new technical regulations in 2022, a new set of engine regulations in 2026 has the potential to upset the order once more.

For the first time in its history, Red Bull will be manufacturing its own power units in 2026 while Mercedes can point to its dominance after the last engine regulation change in 2014 as proof of its ability to adapt to change.

But Wolff said he has no plans to try to lure Verstappen away with promises of a faster car in 2026.

"I don't think anyone can sell anything to Max, Jos and Raymond [Vermeulen]," Wolff added. "Their combined understanding of motorsport, whether you sell well or not is not going to change anything.

"It is a question of where they feel the future is best for them, considering a lot of factors. We are in a very good position for 2026.

"We are ambitious with the targets we have set ourselves for the power unit, for the batteries, for the fuel, and I think if we are able to produce a decent chassis we are a good value proposition. But who knows."

Wolff: Verstappen could still leave Red Bull (2024)


Wolff: Verstappen could still leave Red Bull? ›

SHANGHAI, China -- Mercedes

Mercedes-Benz, a German luxury automotive brand of the Mercedes-Benz Group, has been involved in Formula One as both team owner and engine manufacturer for various periods since 1954. The current Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team is based in Brackley, England, and possesses a German licence.
https://en.wikipedia.org › Mercedes-Benz_in_Formula_One
boss Toto Wolff believes Max Verstappen could still leave Red Bull before the end of his contract due to factors that run deeper than which team has the fastest car.

Is Max Verstappen leaving Red Bull? ›

Max Verstappen has insisted that he is not thinking about leaving Red Bull following the news that Adrian Newey is to depart the organisation, saying there is a “really strong group” around him that can pick up the baton.

When did Verstappen move to Red Bull? ›

He finished the season in 12th place overall with two 4th places and 10 finishes as a rookie, and moved to Red Bull Racing for the 5th round in 2016, the Spanish Grand Prix. He won his first race with Red Bull Racing, becoming the youngest driver ever to win a race at the age of 18 years and 227 days.

How many races has Max Verstappen done with Red Bull? ›

Max Verstappen
2024 teamRed Bull Racing-Honda RBPT
Car number33 1 (2022–)
Entries191 (191 starts)
27 more rows

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Newey's exit came after a cooling of his relationship with team principal Christian Horner, with apparent differences developing over Newey's status and importance within Red Bull's technical team.

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Before Verstappen, Stroll and Bearman, there was Alguersuari — a 19 year old Spaniard who got his big F1 shot at the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix and became F1's youngest ever driver in the process…at the time at least.

What did Max Verstappen's dad say? ›

Following Verstappen's victory in the season-opening race at the Bahrain Grand Prix, in which Horner was present with his wife Geri Halliwell, Verstappen's father told The Daily Mail that “there is tension while he remains in position.” He added: “It can't go on the way it is. It will explode.

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Red Bull Racing's Max Verstappen tops the list with a $55 million salary after the most dominant season in Formula 1 history.

Why did Max Verstappen retire? ›

Verstappen, the three-time F1 world champion, began the race from pole, but was passed by Ferrari's Carlos Sainz on lap two at turn nine. Verstappen kept on the Spaniard's tail, but just two laps later was spewing smoke from the back of his car, with fire following, forcing his retirement from the race.

Does Max Verstappen have a child? ›

Does Max Verstappen have children? Max has no biological children, but he does have a close relationship with Kelly's daughter Penelope. Kelly shares the four-year-old with her ex-partner, Russian driver Daniil Kvyat – who Max replaced at Red Bull in 2016 shortly after the season began.

Who is leaving Red Bull? ›

Following the announcement of Adrian Newey's departure from Red Bull in early 2025, concerns are brewing within the team, with reports of multiple staff members contemplating following the Chief Technical Officer's footsteps.

Is Andrew Newey leaving Red Bull? ›

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Who is Penelope Verstappen? ›

Previously married to Daniil Kvyat, Kelly Piquet has a daughter with the former Red Bull driver. After Kelly Piquet started dating Max Verstappen, her daughter Penelope Piquet started getting close to the defending champion. Now Penelope and Max are quite close and she even comes down to the tracks for races at times.

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