Mercedes admits Verstappen interest but won't "interfere" with Red Bull contract

Mercedes insists any long-term interest it may have in signing Max Verstappen will not involve it going as far as interfering in the Dutchman's Red Bull contract.

Verstappen is locked down to Toro Rosso for the immediate future, but it is understood that he could become a free agent as early as 2018 if his Red Bull bosses do not give him a competitive enough car.

His performance this year during a stellar rookie season have already left him linked with Ferrari, while Mercedes is also an obvious potential destination if he looks to move elsewhere.

Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff has admitted that Verstappen is on his team's radar, but says that he would not do anything that potentially broke his contract.

"He is a boy to look at," Wolff told Motorsport.com. "I personally rate him. I like the way the father and son approach things, and the way the relationship has tackled his sporting career functions. He definitely has his place in F1.

"He is not a topic for us, because he is under long-term contract with Red Bull.

"And if there is one thing with all the controversy in F1 which I will always acknowledge, it is that if you develop a driver in to F1 like Red Bull had done and taken risks, then I think that should be honoured.

"We will not interfere in such a relationship. If things come towards us, then good. But if not, not."

No regrets

Wolff held talks with Verstappen in 2014 about the possibility of him getting involved with Mercedes, but eventually lost out to Red Bull who could offer him a seat at Toro Rosso.

Despite Verstappen's impressive form, Wolff insists that he has no regrets about his rivals having hold of his services.

"No, because I couldn't offer an institutionalised structured junior programme with a clear avenue, and a clear path of development for Max.

"I felt that he has great talent and I felt it would be good to have him in the team.

"But we were only able to offer test driver, or reserve roles, or a seat in GP2 or DTM – and certainly not what Helmut [Marko, Red Bull adviser] was able to offer to him.

"It is absolutely logical that he went down that route."

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Max Verstappen
Teams Mercedes , Toro Rosso
Article type Breaking news