Helmut Marko hints Mercedes will try to replace Lewis Hamilton with Max Verstappen

Following the bombshell announcement of seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton leaving Mercedes in 2025, Formula 1’s German Giants are having a tough time trying to fill the humongous gap that the Briton will leave. The Silver Arrows will be busy finding answers to the heated topic of ‘who should be Hamilton’s ideal replacement?”

However, regarding this Mercedes issue, Red Bull’s Helmut Marko has now spilled Max Verstappen’s name into the mix.

Helmut Marko expects Mercedes to pursue Max Verstappen

In a recent interview, Helmut Marko, the current Red Bull director and head of the team’s driver development program, revealed the possibility of Mercedes trying to convince Max Verstappen as a replacement for the outgoing Lewis Hamilton.

During the media session, Helmut Marko was questioned about whether Mercedes had contacted Verstappen or not. He replied to this by quoting, “I would be surprised if they [Mercedes] had not.”

However, Marko doesn’t expect the ‘loyal’ Red Bull #1 to leave the Austrian camp and make the switch to the Silver Arrow. Expressing his trust in Verstappen, he concluded the interview by stating, “[But] Max is a very loyal driver.”

In an earlier interview, Marko revealed one bitter memory of Verstappen against Mercedes, that will stop the Dutchman from changing lanes to their archrivals. Reflecting on Verstappen’s incident with Hamilton in 2021, he quoted “No. He [Verstappen] has a good memory.”

“Too much has happened in the past. I remember Silverstone [the contact Hamilton and Verstappen had on Lap 1 in 2021] and the turmoil at the finale in Abu Dhabi.”

“It runs too deep. I would rule that out [Verstappen moving to Mercedes],” he concluded by saying.

Even if Mercedes tried signing Max Verstappen, they would have to put forth F1’s most ‘lucrative and innovative’ deal to convince Verstappen to break free from his long-term Red Bull contract.

Red Bull has Max Verstappen for how long?

Red Bull’s agreement with their ‘Flying Dutchman’ Max Verstappen is currently the longest contract on the Formula 1 grid. Verstappen put pen to paper with Red Bull back in March 2022, signing a long-term 5-year contract worth US $55 million a year.

This long-term, 5-year contract was an extension of Verstappen’s previous one, which was supposed to expire at the end of 2023, and will keep the 3x F1 World Champion tied to Red Bull until 2028.

With his current RB deal set to expire in 2028, he is most likely to leave the Austrian team at the age of 30.

Max Verstappen will be starting the first season of his 5-year RB extension on March 2 at the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Is Helmut Marko right about Mercedes trying to sign Verstappen? Will Verstappen even think of leaving Red Bull for Mercedes? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.


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