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Mercedes chief addresses Verstappen rumours: 'He would look good in silver'

Mercedes has long been linked with a move for Max Verstappen. Comments from its chief have now added fuel to the fire.

Verstappen Spain
To news overview © Red Bull Content Pool

Mercedes chief Ola Kallenius has dropped the broadest hint yet that Max Verstappen could join the F1 team in 2026.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has previously made no secret of the fact he would love to have Verstappen in the car when the new power unit regulations are introduced in 2026.

That is despite Verstappen having a contract with Red Bull through to the end of 2028, albeit with an exit clause related to Helmut Marko in that if the advisor leaves, then the three-time F1 champion can follow him out of the door.

Up until now, and other than Wolff, no one inside Mercedes has provided an opinion on the prospect of landing Verstappen, not least due to the huge salary the Dutch driver commands with Red Bull, rumoured to be around $55 million per year.

Lewis Hamilton reputedly earns $50m, which means Mercedes would likely have to pay around $60m to land the 26-year-old.

Kallenius, chairman of the board of management of Mercedes-Benz Group AG, has now made it clear that Verstappen is firmly on his radar, believing the new regulations firmly open the door.

"The best driver wants to have the best car," said Kallenius, speaking to Sky Sports Germany. "And that's our job, to bring the best package together.

"The cards will be reshuffled in 2026. New order with new rules. That's also an opportunity. Who knows.

"But I think Max would look good in silver, wouldn't he?"

Mercedes has previously proven it can hit the ground running when it comes to new engine regulations, as was the case in 2014 when the current 1.6-litre V6 systems were introduced.

The team went on to win a record eight consecutive constructors' championships, whilst Hamilton won six drivers' titles in that period.

Although Mercedes failed to adapt to new aero rules that came into force in 2022, it now finally has a grasp this season, leading to it scoring back-to-back podiums in grands prix for the first time in a year.

It is rumoured to again be making considerable strides with its new power unit for 2026 when Red Bull enters the engine arena for the first time with its Powertrains department in partnership with Ford.

Speculation has long persisted that Red Bull is not as advanced with its programme as it would like to be, whilst team principal Christian Horner has often remarked on the need for changes to be made that would aid its cause.

If the rumours are true, that could prompt Verstappen to be lured to Mercedes and fulfil Kallenius' remark of him 'looking good in silver'.

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