Oracle Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner talks with Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing in the Paddock during previews ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Great Britain at Silverstone Circuit on July 04, 2024 in Northampton, England. (Photo by Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

F1 Rumor: Verstappen to Mercedes, Sainz Jr. to Red Bull (Update)

Dr. Helmut Marko confirms that Max Verstappen can leave Red Bull at any time, but says it is nothing more than speculation at this point.

“If, if. That’s all speculation,” he told OE24.

“We’re not going to go along with that, we’re focused on winning the World Championship. And that we make sure that [Sergio] Perez finds his way back to normal form.”

Although Verstappen has a contract with Red Bull that runs through to the end of the 2028 championship, there are clauses in place that allow the triple World Champion to walk away.

Marko confirmed this, saying: “There are clauses in Max’s contract that make it possible – if certain things happen – to leave the team at any time.”

But whether Mercedes’ pace could entice Verstappen to have a look at those clauses remains to be seen.

Although the team has won the last two races, Hungary will be the true test of Mercedes’ because up until now they have not done well in the heat.

Even in Austria, which was won by George Russell, he was lagging behind Red Bull and McLaren in the heat until Max Verstappen and Lando Norris collided.

“Normally they struggle in the heat,” Marko said. “But what is normal this season? We are experiencing such ups and downs that even we are sometimes at a loss.”

July 11, 2024 

Why hasn’t Carlos Sainz Jr. signed a contract for 2025 yet? If the latest rumor is to be believed, he is waiting to see if Max Verstappen signs with Mercedes for 2025.

–by Mark Cipolloni–

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has made no secret about wanting to sign Max Verstappen for 2025 to replace Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes CEO has joined in the chorus.

Mercedes is rumored to be willing to pay Verstappen as much as $150 million per year to get the talented Dutchman.

Max’s father Jos Verstappen has said he thinks his son should leave Red Bull for Mercedes.

Christian Horner and Jos Verstappen
Christian Horner and Jos Verstappen in Bahrain. Jos tells Horner he should resign

Although Verstappen is signed with Red Bull through 2028, there is supposedly a clause in his contract that if Dr. Helmut Marko leaves Red Bull, then he can too.

With Mercedes and McLaren now faster cars than the Red Bull, Verstappen has to carry the inferior RB20 on his back to stay ahead in the title race. That leads to errors like we saw in British GP qualifying when Verstappen went off course and damaged his floor.

With Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz Jr. taking his time to confirm his seat for 2025, the possibility of the Spaniard replacing Sergio Perez or Max Verstappen in the future comes into focus.

Carlos Sainz Sr with Horner Marko and Newey in Bahrain
Carlos Sainz Sr with Horner Marko and Newey discuss his son Carlos Sainz Jr. driving for Red Bull in 2025

Right now Sainz Jr. is the best driver on the market looking for a ride. Red Bull will want a top driver like Sainz Jr. if Verstappen leaves – someone who can score points consistently and not crash often.

In the past Max said he was happy with Red Bull and has no plans to leave, but that was before the Red Bull car was inferior. Now it is.

Meanwhile, Mercedes will bring further car updates to both of the season’s final two races before the F1 summer break as they bid to maintain their recent upsurge in form and convince Verstappen to sign with them.

The former champions claimed back-to-back victories with George Russell in Austria (a lucky win) and Lewis Hamilton at Silverstone. It must be said, however, if the British GP were two laps longer, Verstappen would have likely caught and passed Hamilton.

Mercedes have credited a steady package of upgrades introduced onto their car since May’s Emilia Romagna GP as a turning point with the team reporting that the W15 is now behaving on track in an expected way.

And Toto Wolff, Mercedes’ team principal, confirmed after Silverstone that more updates would arrive to the W15 for the back-to-back rounds of Hungary – where the team have been on pole the last two years, albeit not won the race – and Belgium before the traditional early/mid-August break in the calendar and compulsory summer factory shutdowns.

“We are finding performance, we are putting it on the car and it translates into lap time,” said Wolff.

“That wasn’t the case for the last two years.

“There is more to come in terms of performance. We are bringing updates to Budapest and Spa.

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