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Max Verstappen

Wolff and Marko 'much closer now' as 'anything is possible' move mooted

Toto Wolff and Helmut Marko have again become good friends of late. Where could that lead?

Verstappen Marko
To news overview © XPBimages

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff and Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko have confirmed the tensions that once existed between them have been removed due to their "common values".

Both Austrian, their relationship was always cordial before passions flared in 2021 when Mercedes and Red Bull, Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen, went toe to toe for the titles.

Mercedes won its eighth consecutive championship but the way in which Verstappen triumphed to claim his maiden drivers' crown 
soured their friendship which has again started to rekindle of late.

Wolff has made no secret of his desire in wanting Max Verstappen to join his team, and earlier this season even went so far as to suggest Marko could effectively become Mercedes' 'new Niki Lauda' due to him "missing our old mascot".

Marko is flattered by the remark. Speaking to OE24, he said: "That's nice but it's all so far away. Our goal now is to calm the team down and win the world title, which will be difficult enough."

Marko at least concedes the previous enmity with Wolff has been removed. "There are no longer the tensions that we had in recent years," he said. "I heard that we are now blood brothers, but that is clearly an exaggeration."

'We have realised that we think alike'

It is understood Verstappen has a clause in his contract that should Marko leave Red Bull, he could follow him out of the exit door.

As to whether Marko has discussed possible alternatives to Red Bull with Verstappen, he did not deny it. He said: "I am in constant contact with Max, we talk about everything."

Wolff has confirmed that he and Marko "have become much closer now", notably since the furore that arose around team principal Christian Horner earlier this season.

"Despite the rivalry, there are common values ​​that we stand for," said Wolff. "With all the things that have happened in the past few months, we have realised that we think alike."

Asked whether it was conceivable both Verstappen and Marko could end up at Mercedes, Wolff pulled no punches.

"It's less about Max than about the behaviour of some people [at Red Bull] where we think similarly," remarked Wolff.

Wolff then made it clear the three-time F1 champion and his advisor could be at Mercedes in 2026. "Let’s put it this way, anything is possible in F1," he concluded.

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