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Toto Wolff

Wolff's Verstappen pursuit purely to 'annoy' Red Bull – Villeneuve

Ex-F1 driver Jacques Villeneuve believes Mercedes boss Toto Wolff does not actually want Max Verstappen.

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Ex-Formula 1 driver Jacques Villeneuve has shared his opinion on Mercedes' interest in Max Verstappen, with the Canadian believing Toto Wolff is just trying to "annoy" Red Bull.

Since the recent investigation into Red Bull team principal Christian Horner, Verstappen has been linked with a sensational move away from the Austrians.

One team he has been rumoured with is Mercedes, who have a seat available for 2025 as a result of Lewis Hamilton joining Ferrari next season.

Wolff has told media that he wants to sign the three-time world champion, although Villeneuve believes the Mercedes boss is saying this purely to annoy Red Bull and actually has zero interest in the Dutchman.

"I can't imagine Toto Wolff wanting Max. The only way he would entertain the idea would just be to annoy Red Bull," Villeneuve explained, as reported by The Express.

"I can't see him at Mercedes because they lost the championship to Red Bull and Max. It would definitely not be because he really wanted Max. It would be more to do with wanting to get at Red Bull."

'Personal vendettas'

Verstappen leads the drivers' championship and has won two of the three races this season. He failed to finish the recent Australian Grand Prix following a brake-related fire.

Whilst the 26-year-old is contracted until the end of 2028, his immediate future has been a huge talking point this season.

With everything going on at Red Bull surrounding Horner and even advisor Dr Helmut Marko, the Dutchman has a decision to make if he wants to remain with the Milton Keynes-based side.

Should he depart, then Villeneuve does not think all is lost, with the Canadian believing that Fernando Alonso would win in the RB20.

"There are a lot of personal vendettas in there right now, both inside and outside of Red Bull. The whole thing is a mess," Villeneuve added.

"Would the team be as good without Horner? That is a difficult one. Would the team win without Verstappen? Probably.

"Max is winning because he has an amazing car and Red Bull are winning because they have an amazing driver. But he is not the only amazing driver that exists. Put Alonso in that car and he would be winning as well.

"I am sure Max believes he could win at Mercedes and at Ferrari as well and that he would make a difference. He has to believe like that. And he might be able to make that much of a difference.

"But that is something we won't know until he makes that move. Right now, he is beating Perez and that makes him look amazing. But we don't know how good Perez really is. We just know he is not as good as Verstappen."

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