JUNE 24, 2024

Verstappen would look good in silver?

Mercedes CEO and chairman Ola Kallenius has stepped into the 2025 Formula 1 'silly season' by making a direct pitch to triple world champion Max Verstappen.

Max Verstappen, Spanish GP 2024
© Red Bull

Although 17-year-old Kimi Antonelli's path to the Ferrari-bound Lewis Hamilton's current race seat now appears clear, team boss Toto Wolff is still not ready to make any announcements.

He has made no great secret of the fact that he is hoping Red Bull's internal conflicts and declining dominance moves the Dutchman towards the exit door.

Nonetheless, Verstappen won Sunday's Spanish GP from pole in the Red Bull.

Max was not in the fastest car today, that was clear, former F1 driver Ralf Schumacher told Sky Deutschland on Sunday. "But he proved that he is the best driver.

His market value has definitely increased today. He didn't have the fastest car and yet he still wins.

And so, both Wolff as well as Mercedes big-wig Kallenius clearly see Verstappen, 26, as the ideal replacement for seven time world champion Hamilton.

The best drivers want to sit in the best cars and our job is to put together the best package, Kallenius said on Sunday.

So at least for now, a 2025 team switch for Verstappen appears unlikely - even though Wolff is leaving the door open for now.

There are simply no conversations taking place at the moment, Wolff insisted. "We have to look at ourselves first and improve our car.

But no decision has been made yet about the new driver. As I have already indicated, we want to postpone this decision for as long as possible. Because who knows what will happen next?

Kallenius sees the new regulations for 2026, backed by Mercedes' historical ability to roll out an instantly-competitive new power unit, as an ideal opportunity for Verstappen.

The cards are being reshuffled. Silver would also suit Max well, he grinned.

When asked about Kallenius' comments, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner responded: "They should concentrate on their own drivers rather than on ours.

We know the situation surrounding Max. He's happy in the team, he's won 70 percent of the races this year, and is leading the world championship. Sometimes, people simply try to unbalance the team with statements like that.

Ralf Schumacher, though, declared: "You can see how Max has to fight now, and that's why Horner has to put up with these questions.

A lot has changed in the team, he has lost important personnel. He now needs to work hard to reposition Red Bull Racing again.

As for a potential Mercedes move for Verstappen, Schumacher added: I don't think it will happen next year, but I could very, very well imagine it in 2026. And if things continue like this, then maybe next year.