Mercedes Formula 1 team boss Toto Wolff says there is currently no opportunity to field a super team consisting of Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen at the German manufacturer.

Verstappen committed his future to Red Bull until 2023 by signing a new contract over the winter, while Hamilton is expected to agree fresh terms to continue his successful partnership with Mercedes into 2021 and beyond.

But following Honda’s shock decision to pull out of F1 at the end of next season, there have been suggestions that Verstappen could have an exit clause in his contract that might alert the attention of Mercedes, despite Red Bull team principal Christian Horner refuting such claims.

Speaking on Formula 1’s Beyond The Grid podcast, Wolff addressed the prospect, insisting that Mercedes is happy with its current driver pairing of Hamilton of Valtteri Bottas and is excited by its up-and-coming juniors George Russell and Esteban Ocon.

“The situation around Max doesn’t provide any opportunity now,” Wolff explained.

“He’s bound to Red Bull, I respect his loyalty a lot. I think it’s important for Red Bull to have Max. There is a lot of narrative around that and Red Bull picked him up from very early on when he joined Toro Rosso, so the situation is what it is, it’s good for him and good for us.

“Valtteri does a great job and Lewis does a great job for us, and they are both at the peak of their performance levels. Then we have juniors that are coming up that have been with us for many years and could be the future for us, and this is what we look at.”

After managing a tense and bitter rivalry between Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, Mercedes has enjoyed a harmonious driver line-up since Bottas joined the team in 2017, and Wolff is keen to keep his happy house in order for as long as possible.

“[The Hamilton and Rosberg line-up] was very difficult, because when you have so much negativity in the room… there was a lot of negativity, and that would drag the whole room down,” he said.

“We came to a point where we said, ‘That’s just not feasible anymore.’ And we talked about it, but the animosity between the drivers was still there, and much beyond the point that Nico retired. And that’s why it’s so refreshing that since the year Valtteri joined, we haven’t had any of that.”

 

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