Wolff had "quite a laugh" over reports of Verstappen talks

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff says he has had "quite a laugh" with Max and Jos Verstappen over suggestions he has been calling the Red Bull Formula 1 driver.

Wolff had "quite a laugh" over reports of Verstappen talks

A report in Germany quoted Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko as saying Wolff "repeatedly" calls five-time grand prix Verstappen and has done so for months.

Verstappen joined Red Bull during his first season of car racing in European Formula 3 back in 2014, having opted for that junior programme over Mercedes as he pursued a swift move into F1.

The 21-year-old said in the build-up to the Chinese Grand Prix weekend that he was surprised to read the story, and found it quite "funny" because "I never speak to Toto, he never calls me, he doesn't even have my number".

Wolff said: "We had quite a laugh about it all three of us. I haven't got Max's number and I've never spoken to him on the phone. As Max rightly said I've known Jos for a long time and I would consider him a friend.

"We talk about babies and go-karting and when do we put our babies in a go-kart together and which team are we going to set up. There is no talking about Max nor his contract. For the right reasons, Max is very committed to the Honda/Red Bull situation.

"We are committed to our drivers and we are not planning to engage in any sort of discussions and nor are Jos or Max, so I don't know where that came from."

It was suggested Verstappen has a performance clause in the new Red Bull contract he signed in 2017 that would allow him to leave the team if it does not fight for the world championship this season.

Verstappen has finished third, fourth and fourth in the first three grands prix, which has put him third in the championship, ahead of both Ferraris but 29 points behind Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton at the head of the standings.

"I can't talk about my contract," Verstappen said when asked about the supposed performance clause. "I never talk about my contract. I think it's quite normal that I cannot comment on that."

Mercedes drivers Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas have finished first and second in each race so far, with Hamilton winning the last two after Bottas won the season opener.

Hamilton is signed up to Mercedes until the end of next season while the team has the option to keep Bottas for 2020 as well.

"After a day like today where we are P1 and P2 I'm not considering any other driver for the short-term," said Wolff following the Chinese GP.

"[For] after 2020 we will first discuss with Valtteri and Lewis, and once that decision is taken, we'll turn to the paddock. But hopefully the line-up stays forever."

Additional reporting by Adam Cooper and James Roberts

shares
comments
F1 must go extreme with qualifying changes or leave it

Previous article

F1 must go extreme with qualifying changes or leave it

Next article

Kvyat: Stewards know Chinese GP penalty was too harsh

Kvyat: Stewards know Chinese GP penalty was too harsh
Load comments
How F1's biggest crisis helped trigger its exciting 2021 season Prime

How F1's biggest crisis helped trigger its exciting 2021 season

Formula 1's return to Austria this weekend comes under exceedingly different circumstances to its last Spielberg visit, when F1 took its first tentative steps out of the global COVID shutdown. But the tightrope F1 walked in 2020 has ultimately led to the most exciting season of the hybrid era

Can Red Bull really win anywhere now it’s toppled a Mercedes F1 stronghold? Prime

Can Red Bull really win anywhere now it’s toppled a Mercedes F1 stronghold?

OPINION: Red Bull team boss Christian Horner reckoned Max Verstappen winning the French Grand Prix – an event where Mercedes had previously been dominant – would signal “we can beat them anywhere”. Here’s how that claim stacks up looking at the rest of the 2021 season

Formula 1
Jun 23, 2021
The IndyCar feature that Paul Ricard desperately needs in F1 Prime

The IndyCar feature that Paul Ricard desperately needs in F1

The French Grand Prix offered a surprisingly interesting spectacle, despite the headache-inducing nature of the circuit. But IndyCar's Road America race offered far more in terms of action - and the increased jeopardy at the Elkhart Lake venue might be something Paul Ricard needs in future...

Formula 1
Jun 22, 2021
French Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

French Grand Prix driver ratings

The French GP was a weekend decided by tiny margins both at the front of the field, as Red Bull inflicted a comeback defeat on Mercedes, and in the battle for the minor points places. That's reflected in our driver ratings, where several drivers came close to a maximum score

Formula 1
Jun 21, 2021
How Red Bull took French GP "payback" on a day of Mercedes mistakes Prime

How Red Bull took French GP "payback" on a day of Mercedes mistakes

The French GP has been a stronghold for Mercedes since Paul Ricard's return to the calendar in 2018. But that all changed on Sunday, as a clever two-stop strategy guided Red Bull's Max Verstappen to make a race-winning pass on the penultimate lap - for once leaving Mercedes to experience the pain of late defeat it has so often inflicted on Red Bull

Formula 1
Jun 21, 2021
The Mercedes lap that puts F1 victory fight back on a knife-edge Prime

The Mercedes lap that puts F1 victory fight back on a knife-edge

Red Bull led the way after the first two practice sessions for the 2021 French Grand Prix, but only just ahead of Mercedes. There was all the usual practice skulduggery complicating the performance picture, but one aspect seen at the world champion squad gave it a ‘surprise’ lift, as it looks to leave its street-circuit struggles firmly in the past.

Formula 1
Jun 19, 2021
How Ferrari got its F1 recovery plan working Prime

How Ferrari got its F1 recovery plan working

After its worst campaign in 40 years, the famous Italian team had to bounce back in 2021 – and it appears to be delivering. Although it concedes the pole positions in Monaco and Baku paint a somewhat misleading picture of its competitiveness, the team is heading into the 2022 rules revamp on much stronger footing to go for wins again

Formula 1
Jun 18, 2021
The joy that exposes F1’s key weakness Prime

The joy that exposes F1’s key weakness

Long-awaited wins for ex-Formula 1 drivers Marcus Ericsson and Kevin Magnussen in IndyCar and IMSA last weekend gave F1 a reminder of what it is missing. But with the new rules aimed at levelling the playing field, there’s renewed optimism that more drivers can have a rewarding result when their day of days comes

Formula 1
Jun 17, 2021