Oracle Red Bull Racing Team Consultant Dr Helmut Marko walks in the Paddock with Jos Verstappen and Raymond Vermeulen, Manager of Max Verstappen prior to practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Austria at Red Bull Ring on June 28, 2024 in Spielberg, Austria. (Photo by Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Formula 1 News: Marko says Toto Wolff guilty of ‘wishful thinking’

(GMM) Dr Helmut Marko has accused fellow Austrian Toto Wolff of “wishful thinking”, as the Mercedes boss clings to the idea that Max Verstappen might make a shock team switch for 2025.

Osterreich newspaper on Friday asked Wolff if he had heard that Verstappen had now definitively pledged his immediate future to Red Bull.

“Did he really say that?” Wolff replied.

“I don’t think he clearly said ‘yes’. But I wasn’t there,” the Austrian insisted.

“As I keep saying, we’ll keep our free seat free for as long as possible. First and foremost, we need to make our car faster, because if the car is fast, fast drivers will want to drive with us.”

Red Bull has been mired by internal political conflict in 2024, with Max’s father Jos – in a new high-profile spat with team boss Christian Horner – refusing to be as definitive as his son in suggesting he will still be in a Red Bull next year.

“There’s so much going on that I don’t want to talk about it,” the 50-year-old former F1 driver said at the Red Bull Ring.

When asked why Wolff keeps hinting that triple world champion Max might soon become a Mercedes driver, Horner said on Friday: “I think it’s purely a tactic of distraction.

“Of course, if Toto does want a Verstappen for next year, I guess Jos is potentially available.”

Red Bull F1 advisor Dr Helmut Marko, meanwhile, described Wolff’s attitude as “wishful thinking”.

“The starting point remains the same,” he told Sky Deutschland. “As long as Red Bull provides Max with a competitive car and he feels comfortable, there is no reason to change.”

As for Horner’s accusation that he is engaged in distraction tactics, Wolff hit back: “I didn’t hear that at all, but it’s just stupid.”

But when told that Horner is teasingly offering Jos Verstappen to Mercedes, Wolff added: “That wouldn’t be bad either.”

Oracle Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner talks with Mercedes GP Executive Director Toto Wolff in the Paddock prior to Sprint Qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Austria at Red Bull Ring on June 28, 2024 in Spielberg, Austria. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool
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