Motorsport

Max Verstappen Opens Up On Mercedes Proposal: 'I Plan To Stay At Red Bull'

After dominating the 2024 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix for the ninth time in a row, the Red Bul driver Max Verstappen's demand increased in the paddocks, especially at Mercedes whose principal Toto Wolff showed interest in signing him as a replacement of Lewis Hamilton in 2025

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AP, Darko Bandic
Red Bull driver Max Verstappen of the Netherlands celebrates with Red Bull team principal Christian Horner after winning the Formula One Saudi Arabian Grand Prix at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit, in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Saturday, March 9, 2024. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic) Photo: AP, Darko Bandic
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Max Verstappen said he can understand why Toto Wolff wants to take him to Mercedes – but the triple world champion insists it his “intention” to see out his contract with Red Bull. (More Formula One News)

Following Verstappen’s ninth consecutive victory in Saudi Arabia earlier this month, Wolff revealed for the first time that he would “love” to sign Verstappen as a replacement for the Ferrari-bound Lewis Hamilton.

Verstappen, 26, is under contract with Red Bull until 2028, but his future is in the spotlight amid the in-fighting at Formula One’s dominant team.

And responding to Wolff’s comments ahead of Sunday’s third round of the season in Australia, Verstappen replied with a smile: “I can understand (why).

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“It is always nice to hear that. Toto and I have had our moments. That is normal between two teams battling for the championship but the respect has always been there.

Mercedes Principal Toto Wolff
Mercedes Principal Toto Wolff
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“From my side it doesn’t change anything. I don’t know what will happen after 2028, if I will stay in F1, or continue, or sign a new deal (with Red Bull).

“But that is why I signed the deal in the first place. I am happy within the team and it is my intention to be here in the end.”

Verstappen, who will equal his record of 10 straight wins with another victory this weekend, opened the door to sensationally quitting Red Bull if motorsport adviser Helmut Marko is forced out on the eve of the race in Saudi Arabia a fortnight ago.

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Verstappen continued: “It is very important that we try to keep the key players in the team for a longer period of time because that is where the performance is and if I didn’t perform I wouldn’t be sitting here.

“For me, it is a second family. In a family there might some times be disagreements. You cannot choose your family but you can choose friends.

“A lot of people have contributed to the success of this team from the start and that has to be respected. It is important to keep them together, happy and in the same roles.

“But we just focus on the performance. I would like the chat to be about the great car that we have. Hopefully that will come slowly.”

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