Horner: Wolff should focus on his own F1 problems, not ‘unavailable’ Verstappen

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Horner: Wolff should focus on his own F1 problems, not ‘unavailable’ Verstappen


Amid new comments from Mercedes chief Wolff about the possibility of Verstappen walking away from Red Bull and potentially his team, Horner has issued a hard-hitting response.

While Red Bull’s Verstappen camp indicates the three-time world champion is fully committed to his contract, Horner says Wolff is wasting his time dreaming there is a chance of getting him.

Asked about Wolff’s continued hints about Verstappen’s potential availability, Horner told the media: “Have you spoken to Max about it? Because if you talk to Max, it’s not about pieces of paper at the end of the day.

“We know he has a contract until the end of 2028. It’s about how he feels in the team, the relationship he has in the team and how he behaves. And I don’t think Toto’s problems come from its drivers.

“I think he probably has other things he needs to focus on rather than focusing on drivers who aren’t available.”

Wolff has made no secret that he would like Verstappen to replace Lewis Hamilton, but he is also aware that his hopes are not helped by the fact that his team’s car for 2024 is not that competitive at the moment.

However, speaking in China, Wolff suggested factors beyond pure performance would ultimately decide Verstappen’s future.

It follows a turbulent start to the campaign for Red Bull, where Horner’s future at the team was the subject of speculation following an internal power battle sparked by a complaint from a female employee. regarding his behavior.

Wolff said: “There are so many factors that play a role for a driver to join. Obviously, when you look at it from the most rational point of view, you can say that it is the fastest car in the hands of the fastest driver. But I don’t think that’s the only reason you stay where you are.

“For the simple-minded, let’s say, that might be the only reason to stay in the car. But maybe there’s more depth to some people who also take other factors into account, and I think Max has that depth.

“On this point, will we convince him? I don’t think it’s a matter of belief. I think Max knows motorsport better than anyone and will make decisions that are good for him.

“I think a few factors play a role, but he’s the one that’s going to make other dominoes fall down the road. Everyone is waiting for what he is going to do.

Even though Wolff believes Mercedes’ prospects for the 2026 rules overhaul would make his team very attractive, there is no doubt he has a weak hand when it comes to selling the potential of the year’s challenger next.

“If I were Max, I would stay at Red Bull in 2025,” he said. “But I’m not Max. It’s the fastest car, but there are other factors to consider.

Toto Wolff, Team Principal and CEO, Mercedes-AMG F1 Team

Toto Wolff, Team Principal and CEO, Mercedes-AMG F1 Team

Photo by: Motorsport Images

Horner believed the ongoing intrigue around Verstappen’s future was perhaps being fueled by Mercedes as a distraction tactic to draw attention away from their difficult start to the season.

“I’m not going to get dragged into this,” Horner said. “I think sometimes it’s just designed to create noise.

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“We moved [in China] ahead of the number of races Mercedes has won in the modern era. The team is therefore in good shape. Why the hell would you want to leave this team?

“Mercedes is currently the third team, behind its customers. So I think its [Wolff’s] It might be better to spend his time focusing on the team rather than the driver market.

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