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‘His time would be better spent focusing on the team’ – Horner criticises Wolff’s comments on Verstappen’s F1 future

F1 Correspondent & Presenter

Lawrence Barretto
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Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says “everybody is waiting for what [Max Verstappen] is going to do” regarding which Formula 1 team he intends to race with in the future – but Red Bull boss Christian Horner responded by saying his rival boss’ “time would be better spent perhaps focusing on the team, rather than the driver market”.

Reigning world champion Verstappen has a contract with Red Bull until at least the end of 2028 but Wolff is interested in luring a driver he missed out on signing around a decade ago to the Silver Arrows – as he plans a future without Ferrari-bound Lewis Hamilton.

READ MORE: Hamilton ‘grateful just to get points’ in China as Russell admits Mercedes have ‘work to do’ before Miami

Speaking in Shanghai on Sunday evening, after his team finished sixth and ninth in the Chinese Grand Prix – a race dominated by Red Bull and Verstappen – Wolff said: “There are so many factors that play a role for a driver joining.

“Clearly from the most rational point of view, you can say 'well, that's the quickest car in the hands of the quickest driver'. But I don't think that this is the only reason you stay where you are.

SHANGHAI, CHINA - APRIL 20: Toto Wolff of Austria and Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team during

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff is interested in potentially luring Max Verstappen from Red Bull

“For, let's say, simple minds, that might be the only reason why you stay in the car and that's it. But maybe there's more depth to some people that consider other factors, too, and I think Max has more depth.

“Are we able to convince him? I don't think it's a matter of convincing, Max knows motor racing better than anyone. He will take decisions that he feels are good for him.

“I think a few factors play a role but he's the one that is going to trigger some more domino stones to fall after, but everybody is waiting for what he's going to do.”

READ MORE: Verstappen hails ‘amazing’ weekend in China as he takes victory amid multiple restarts

Speaking about his future earlier in the weekend, Verstappen said: “I signed a long deal with the team [after 2021]. The only thing I've said from the beginning is that we want to have a quiet, peaceful environment.

“Lately we've been talking about the car, I’m very happy about that already. As long as I'm happy with the team, there has never been a reason to leave.”

SHANGHAI, CHINA - APRIL 20: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing and Oracle

Horner insists Verstappen will be with Red Bull next year

When Horner was asked if Verstappen should be more definitive about staying at Red Bull for the duration of his contract, he said: “I don’t know how many more times he needs to say it, he’s said it numerous times.

“I think sometimes it’s just designed to create noise.

READ MORE: Verstappen charges to victory over Norris and Perez in action-packed Chinese GP

"We moved ahead today of the races Mercedes has won in the modern era. Of the teams in form, why on Earth would you want to leave this team?

“Mercedes are the third team behind their customers [McLaren and Aston Martin] at the moment, so I think [Wolff's] time would be better spent perhaps focusing on the team, rather than the driver market.”

He added: “I can assure you there is no ambiguity about where Max Verstappen will be next year.”

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