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Toto Wolff confirms Mercedes' interest in Max Verstappen and says they want the Dutch pilot.

George Russell, Max Verstappen

There are multiple candidates for Lewis Hamilton's seat at Mercedes, but the team's main target is three-time world champion Max Verstappen.

Expressing their interest in the Dutch pilot, Toto Wolff said: "This is the kind of association that must happen or become a reality at a certain point."

"But we don't know when that will happen."

"Max is our first choice. We all know his level of performance. He is an outstanding driver but at the moment we can give him a car that is difficult to drive and tune."

Wolff added that they did not want to make a hasty decision.

"Now we want to proceed cautiously, without rushing anything. We have an empty seat and among the top teams we are the only team with a seat for next season."

"A few months ago I did not expect such an opportunity. There is only a small group of drivers who are interesting to us for Lewis' place."

"Among them, there are some drivers who will not make a hasty decision. Max Verstappen will also not decide what to do in the next few weeks."

"There is a certain situation at Red Bull, so Max will try to see how it develops."

Toto Wolff

Toto said he and Jos and Max "cleared the air" by talking about what happened in 2021.

"Max, Jos and I talked about it and sorted everything out," Wolff told the Mirror.

"I think we've always respected each other. Jos and I have the same sense of humour. I think the most important thing is that neither of us likes nonsense."

"Jos knows more about racing than I do. I'm probably a little more knowledgeable about running the event myself."

"It's unfortunate that those competitive moments happened, but maybe they would have acted like that if they were in my shoes."

"At the end of the day, I will always defend my own driver."

"Looking back at that whole year [2021], it's clear that I made some mistakes. There were mistakes in the way I handled things that I can't reverse."

"If you look at Max's last two years, there's no one close to him."

"Of course you can't do this without a good car, engine and team. Max is in this position right now."

Toto said they wanted Max in the past too.

"We already had the opportunity to try to sign a contract with him. Max was racing in Formula 3 at that time."

"We met with Jos, with whom I have a very good relationship, at my home in Vienna. At that time, I did not have the means to immediately give him the opportunity to race in Formula 1."

"Jos told me that Red Bull offered me the opportunity to do it immediately with Toro Rosso, and it happened."

"After a single season in Faenza, he took the seat of Daniil Kvyat. Now we have a pilot who has become a three-time world champion.


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