Helmut Marko expects Mercedes to contact Max Verstappen to replace Lewis Hamilton

Red Bull are braced for Max Verstappen to receive a call from Mercedes about their 2025 vacancy

Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 1, Bahrain Grand Prix, Sakhir, Bahrain, Race Day.
Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 1,…

Mercedes might have already made contact with Max Verstappen in their search for a Lewis Hamilton replacement, says Helmut Marko.

Hamilton’s move to Ferrari in 2025 means Mercedes are already busily considering how to replace the seven-time F1 champion.

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and McLaren’s Lando Norris are newly-contracted to their current teams while Verstappen is tied down long-term at Red Bull.

But Red Bull’s Marko was asked if Mercedes might try to contact Verstappen.

“I would be surprised if they hadn't,” he replied to Krone Zeitung.

“But Max is a very loyal driver.”

Hamilton will spend one final year at Mercedes, the team which has helped him achieve six of his seven championships.

Marko was asked what he expects from Hamilton this year, after a win-less two seasons.

“Lewis is an exceptional driver,” he replied.

“If they give him a car that is capable of winning [races] or even a World Championship, they will have to involve him until the end – and so just jump over their shadow.”

Toto Wolff has insisted that Mercedes have no concerns over Hamilton’s “integrity” in his final year before moving to a direct rival.

Red Bull, meanwhile, remain F1’s team to beat after just one grand prix in 2024.

Verstappen cruised to victory in Saturday's Bahrain Grand Prix, with Sergio Perez second.

Last year they won all-but-one grands prix - can they do it again?

“There are also route-specific parameters,” Marko insisted.

“If you don't get pole in Monaco or Singapore, it will be difficult to win.

“That's not our goal, of course we want to get close to this dream result, but the competition has gotten closer.

“Our goal is the championship.”

The RB20 shocked much of the F1 paddock when, despite the dominance of last year’s car, it was revealed with a brave new concept.

“With all our know-how, we were able to develop a concept that was more revolutionary than evolutionary,” Marko said.

“So we could go to extremes without risking it being a flop.

“In addition, the word conservative simply does not exist in the minds of our technicians around Pierre Wache and Adrian Newey - that is also part of Red Bull's DNA.

“Yes, we surprised everyone with this car, one look at the narrow side pods is enough.

“You can also see that the entire field, let's call it, was based on our car. So our package fits.”

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