Toto Wolff says Mercedes has no plans to engage in any contract-related discussions with Red Bull Formula 1 driver Max Verstappen.

Verstappen opted to join Red Bull’s junior programme over Mercedes’ back in 2014 as he enjoyed a meteoric rise up the single-seater ladder, before making his F1 debut with Toro Rosso in 2015 and then graduating to the senior team the following season.

Speculation surrounding Mercedes’ supposed continued interest in Verstappen has been rife over the last few years, with reports in Germany quoting Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko as saying that Wolff has repeatedly called the Dutchman in recent months.

But Wolff said he has laughed off the rumours with both Verstappen and his father Jos.

“We had quite a laugh about that, all three of us. I haven’t got Max’s number and I’ve never spoken to him on the phone,” Wolff explained.

“As Max said rightly, I know Jos since a long time and I would consider him a friend. We talk about babies and go-karting, and when do we put our baby kids in a go-kart together and which team are we going to set up.

“There’s no talk about Max or his contract. I think for the right reasons, Max is very committed to the Honda-Red Bull situation, and rightly so, we are committed to our drivers.

“We are not planning to engage in other discussions, and nor are Jos or Max, so I don’t know where that came from.”

Verstappen currently trails world championship leader Lewis Hamilton by 29 points in the drivers’ standings, ahead of Ferrari pairing Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc.

Five-time world champion Hamilton is tied down to Mercedes until the end of 2020, while Mercedes has an option to extend Valtteri Bottas’ current deal into a fourth term next season.

“After a day like today, where we are P1 and P2 I’m not considering any other drivers for the short term,” Wolff said after Mercedes recorded its third straight one-two finish of 2019 at the Chinese Grand Prix.

“What happens after 2020 will be first discussed with Valtteri and Lewis. Once that decision is taken, then we will turn to the paddock.

“But hopefully the line-up goes forever.”

Comments

Loading Comments...