Toto Wolff has left the door open to pursue a bold move for Max Verstappen, as the Mercedes chief attempts to fill the massive void that will be left by Lewis Hamilton's departure at the end of the season.
The British driver will leave after a partnership spanning six world titles and more than a decade, heading to Ferrari in the twilight of his career.
You have to go back as far as 2016 to find the last time Wolff was forced to find someone to replace a departing world champion, when Nico Rosberg suddenly retired.
With none of the paddock expecting Ferrari’s swoop for Hamilton to go through, could there be a possibility that Verstappen decides to leave Red Bull?
Quizzed by the media if a Verstappen move could be possible, Wolff left the door open for interpretation with his answer.
“We will always try to have the best possible combination in our car and seek out these discussions,” he said.
“You can see how quickly the situation can change. At the same time, we respect contracts that exist.
“Drivers always want to be in the fastest car. It’s up to us to demonstrate that we can build the fastest car – not just in the short and medium term, but also in the long term. This will then lead to opportunities. The ball is in our court.”
2024 will be an important year for Mercedes if they want to attract the right talent to their team.
Showing a positive development direction and clear path heading into the new era of technical regulations could make them front-runners to sign headline stealing drivers in the future.
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