“Max is not an option for Mercedes”- Toto Wolff on Max Verstappen speculations with Mercedes as he wants to avoid another toxic environment.
Ever since Max Verstappen has risen to prominence while driving with Red Bull, the Dutch driver has been linked with Mercedes to further fortify the Formula 1 champions’ lineup.
Meanwhile, Red Bull not being able to overlap the hegemony of Mercedes would also lure Verstappen to shift his trade over to Mercedes. However, Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has clearly rejected this possibility.
“Max is not an option for Mercedes,” he told broadcaster ORF. “We will never understand exactly what happened in the relationship between Nico and Lewis at the time. It goes back a long time, precisely to their karting days and junior classes.
“We have seen how their friendship turned into rivalry and then hostility. That dynamic between them was very difficult to understand. It started when I joined the team in 2013 and it got worse and worse from there.”
Hamilton and Rosberg shared one intense rivalry that eventually came back to bite Mercedes, with both drivers constantly getting engaged in heated arguments after several races.
Therefore, Wolff has that is why snubbed Verstappen’s move to Formula 1 as the team management wants to avoid a similar situation in future, as Verstappen is of a similar competitive breed.
“It was a very difficult situation to deal with,” he added. “During team meetings, there was very negative energy in the air. At some point, it was no longer acceptable and we talked about it. But the hostility among the pilots remained.
“Max’s presence would create an unnecessary ‘star wars. Fortunately, with Valtteri, all this has not been proposed.” he concluded.
Many wish to watch this pair
Even though Wolff has a rational argument against appointing Verstappen as the second driver in the team, there are still many who wish to see the partnership of both drivers.
In the current state of the paddock, only Verstappen comes close to the calibre of Hamilton, and it has been argued by many that if both are given cars of same capabilities, then the level of racing would be incredible.
But in the right state of mind, Mercedes wouldn’t risk the stability Valtteri Bottas gives to the team. He doesn’t challenge the status quo and gathers the required points expected from him. Hence, giving a stable partnership to dominate the paddock.