Max Verstappen ‘not interested’ in mega Mercedes offer and turns up heat on Toto Wolff

The Dutchman has responded to reports that Mercedes are ready to make him the highest-paid driver in F1 history.

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Max Verstappen has told Toto Wolff and Mercedes to improve their pace or forget about signing him, as the Red Bull driver claimed he would turn down a sensational offer to make him the highest-paid driver in Formula 1 history.

Mercedes chief Wolff has lined up an audacious swoop to snatch the Dutchman away from his rival Christian Horner to replace Lewis Hamilton for 2025, with the Briton completing a deal to join Ferrari back in February.

Reports suggest Mercedes are preparing a £128million-a-year offer to entice Verstappen to the Silver Arrows, which would trump Hamilton’s £80m-a-year deal with the Scuderia by some margin, and former F1 driver Ralf Schumacher predicted he will leave.

But Verstappen has brushed off speculation concerning his future by insisting money is not enough to tempt him away from Red Bull – indicating to Wolff that his team would need to improve their pace before he would even consider joining the German manufacturer.

Toto Wolff wants Max Verstappen to replace Lewis Hamilton. | Mercedes F1 Team/Sebastian Kawka

“My future is within Red Bull at the moment. Even if that were to be the case [earning €150m], money would not be the difference to make me go somewhere else,” Verstappen told the written press in Miami, including Total-Motorsport.com.

A reporter chimed in asking if £213m (€250m) would be enough to tempt him, but Verstappen was adamant in his response: “250? No. I’m happy with what I’m earning already.

“I know myself, and if I’m driving for P5 or P6, you get quite grumpy with yourself. It’s always about performances at the end of the day, everyone knows that and Toto also knows that.”

Verstappen happy to stay for now

While Verstappen has won all four of the races he has completed, Mercedes are yet to finish on the podium after five races in 2024. Wolff, who admitted the Chinese GP was “just not good enough”, has called on the team to step up their efforts to avoid another disappointing campaign.

Amidst the recent turmoil inside the Red Bull team involving Horner, Helmut Marko and Adrian Newey, it has been suggested Verstappen could depart, despite having a contract with the team until 2028.

Verstappen took a diplomatic view to Newey’s departure, revealing he wanted the 65-year-old to stay but felt the team would be in good shape with the team’s current structure. And the three-time world champion added he is not thinking of leaving the team at this moment.

“I’ve learned not to say everything in the media. It doesn’t benefit myself, the team or anyone around in the paddock. I don’t need to say everything on my mind,” Verstappen added

“At the moment, I can say I would like to stay with the team because I believe in the project we have, with everybody we have involved. In sport and also life, you don’t know what’s going to happen in the future.”

Joe Krishnan
Joe Krishnan is an NCTJ-qualified journalist who has worked for a number of media organisations, including the Daily Express, The Mirror, Evening Standard, The Independent and Bleacher Report. Joe has been following F1 since when he watched Mika Hakkinen clinch the 1999 drivers' championship, and his first taste of real-life racing action was watching David Coulthard spin off into the gravel at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in 2001.
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