Mercedes may try replacing Lewis Hamilton with Max Verstappen

Hamilton has agreed to join Ferrari at the end of the 2024 season in a remarkable move

By Web Desk
February 05, 2024
Max Verstappen is a three-time World Champion - AFP

Red Bull F1 Director Helmut Marko believes that Toto Wolff might try to persuade Max Verstappen to join Mercedes once Lewis Hamilton departs. However, Marko doubts that his fellow Austrian will be successful.

Hamilton has agreed to join Ferrari at the end of the 2024 season in a remarkable move, ending his 11-year tenure with the Brackley-based team. This leaves Wolff with the challenge of finding a successor to a driver who clinched six of his seven F1 drivers' titles with the Silver Arrows.

The team will also face a significant commercial setback, as Hamilton is a widely recognised name and more marketable than any of his peers. The only contender who could come close in terms of marketability while also replacing Hamilton's talent is Verstappen.

Having secured three consecutive titles with Red Bull, Marko speculates that Wolff may make a move in the upcoming months."Toto Wolff will try that - but he will be unsuccessful," he told German publication Sport.

Marko believes that Verstappen's "good memory" of his encounters with Hamilton and Mercedes, especially during their high-profile 2021 title battle, will discourage him from ever joining the Silver Arrows. Another significant factor is the contract the Dutchman holds until the conclusion of the 2028 season.

With five more complete seasons under this agreement and Red Bull currently dominating as the top team in F1, Verstappen is poised to continue experiencing considerable success by remaining with his current team. Moreover, there exists a possibility that he might not enter into another F1 contract, even though he will only be 31 when the current deal concludes.

Verstappen has been open about his aspiration to exit F1 at a relatively young age. He has acknowledged that a major consideration in that decision, when the time comes, will be whether he still possesses the machinery to contend for additional race victories and championships.

"Depends a lot also on the package, right? That's how Formula 1 works. Personally, I'm still young even though I'm already in F1 for a while. Definitely, I have quite a few more years in me to be able to operate at my best. But yeah, we'll see how long that is. To be honest, I think it's more about how long I want to be here. That's different," he said last year.

"Depends how far back on the grid. I know there will be a time when you're not winning but, yeah, probably when you're driving P15, maybe not. But if you're still fighting up front, trying to win races and you have this prospect of coming back to the top, for sure."