F1 champion claims Mercedes want Red Bull revenge in Max Verstappen deal

Matt Hobkinson
Toto Wolff, Christian Horner and Max Verstappen

1997 Formula 1 champion, Jacques Villeneuve, has claimed that Toto Wolff would only sign Max Verstappen out of revenge, not because the Mercedes team principal genuinely wanted to sign the Dutchman.

Verstappen has been linked with a sensational move to join Mercedes as they look to replace Lewis Hamilton ahead of his 2025 move to Ferrari.

Despite Wolff admitting that he would love to sign Verstappen, Villeneuve is adamant that a chance to get one over arch-rivals Red Bull would be the main driving factor for the Mercedes boss.

“I can’t imagine Toto Wolff wanting Max!” he told OLBG. “The only way he would entertain the idea would just be to annoy Red Bull.

“I can’t see him at Mercedes because they lost the championship to Red Bull and Max [in 2021].

“It would definitely not be because he [Wolff] really wanted Max. It would be more to do with wanting to get at Red Bull.”

Verstappen’s first world title that Villeneuve alludes to sparked the beginning of Red Bull’s resurgence to the top of F1 and the beginning of a tense rivalry with Mercedes.

The 26-year-old has now won the past three drivers’ championships and is looking to replicate Sebastian Vettel’s feat of four consecutive titles as a Red Bull driver.

Mercedes, meanwhile, have endured a miserable start to the 2024 season. Both George Russell and Hamilton record DNFs in Australia with the pair no doubt hoping for better luck at the upcoming Japanese Grand Prix.

Wolff’s team have looked a shadow of themselves since Verstappen won his first title in 2021, leading former Ferrari driver, Giancarlo Fisichella, to warn the Red Bull star over what he believes would be a “stupid” move to Mercedes.