Red Bull chief fires accusation at Toto Wolff over Mercedes Verstappen pursuit

The Red Bull supremo has spoken out as reports continue to link Max Verstappen with a shock move to Mercedes

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Red Bull chief Oliver Mintzlaff has continued the team’s war of words with Toto Wolff, accusing the Mercedes boss of lacking respect when discussing his interest in signing Formula 1 world champion Max Verstappen.

The Dutchman is thought to be considering his future with the team, despite having a contract until 2028, after a turbulent few months inside the Austrian team. Reports in Germany suggest a lucrative offer is being prepared by eight-time constructors’ winners Mercedes.

Doubts have been raised over the futures of Christian Horner and Helmut Marko, while Horner’s fallout with Verstappen’s father, Jos, has done little to cool speculation about the 26-year-old’s future.

Wolff has capitalised on their uncertainty by declaring his intention to sign Verstappen as a replacement for Lewis Hamilton, who is joining Ferrari for 2025, leaving Red Bull’s managing director Mintzlaff unimpressed with his counterpart’s conduct.

Max Verstappen speaks to the press after qualifying for the 2024 Miami Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool
Max Verstappen speaks to the press after qualifying for the 2024 Miami Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

“I understand the pressure that Toto Wolff and perhaps other teams have after years of being behind. But I think Toto Wolff should concentrate on his challenges… he’s had enough of those,” Mintzlaff told Bild on Sunday.

“And it also has something to do with respect when I keep talking about the personnel of other teams. That’s not right.”

Mintzlaff doesn’t mince his words

Verstappen has not ruled out leaving at some point in the future, but suggested that he wouldn’t accept an extraordinary £128million-a-year offer to join Mercedes unless the team improved their pace.

However, Mintzlaff believes there is nothing to show the three-time world champion wants to leave – and claimed there are “no reasons” in favour of him joining the Silver Arrows.

“No, at least I can’t think of any. Like I said, Max wants the fastest car, and we have this,” the Red Bull supremo said.

“Max wants to become world champion [again]. With us he has the best chances and Max is a loyal guy. He knows that Christian Horner and Helmut Marko have always placed their trust in him. He appreciates that.

Mintzlaff added: “Max still has a long-term contract here and hasn’t said a word that he doesn’t want to fulfil it. I’m not at all worried that he’s considering a move. Things just have to calm down again now. That’s what Max wants – and that’s what we want too.”

Joe Krishnan
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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