Toto Wolff addresses Verstappen and Antonelli rumours

Luca Manacorda, Jaden Diaz
14/05/2024

In the Miami GP, we saw a Mercedes at least somewhat capable of battling with a Red Bull. This was thanks to Lewis Hamilton, who put Sergio Perez under pressure for some time. However, the main back and forth between these teams took place off-track. Specifically, this animosity was triggered by comments made by Oliver Mintzlaff, Red Bull CEO, and Toto Wolff.

THE BACK AND FORTH BETWEEN TOTO WOLFF AND OLIVER MINTZLAFF

In light of statements from the Mercedes boss about Max Verstappen’s future, Oliver Mintzlaff made some direct comments in his paddock appearance in Miami:

I think Mr. Wolff should focus on his challenges. He already has enough. It is also a question of respect. Continuing to talk about other teams’ personnel is not appropriate.”

Wolff‘s response did not take long: I have no idea what he meant, so there’s no need for me to comment. What he says has no relevance to me, maybe he just wanted to appear on TV .”

In addition to the driver’s speculations, the challenge between Mercedes and Red Bull is also played out on the technical staff. Adrian Newey’s exit could allow other teams to hire other engineers coming out of Milton Keynes. McLaren’s Zak Brown has already said there is an increase in CVs arriving from Christian Horner’s personnel. In this regard, Wolff confirmed Mercedes’ interest, but without limiting the discussion to Red Bull:

We are seeing Red Bull’s CVs at all levels, but I would say that it is nothing extraordinary. You know, people change teams, and they want to change environments. I’ve gotten to the point that I’m not really interested in what’s going on in Red Bull, I don’t listen to anything anymore. I think it’s important for us to look at our team and see, develop our people and hopefully bring some interesting and competent people from other teams to Mercedes .”

THE CHOICE OF THE NEW DRIVER: WAITING FOR VERSTAPPEN, SAINZ OBSERVED SPECIAL

In the press conference, the Mercedes boss returned to answer, as usual, several questions on the possibility of convincing Verstappen to join Mercedes. Wolff initially denied the rumours that spoke of a meeting in Miami with the Dutch driver, later adding:

There are always many meetings. I can’t really say anything about the second driver. I think we talked about the possibilities: I want to be honest with these guys (the drivers vying for Lewis Hamilton’s seat. ed.) and not make it seem like we’re playing chess because we’re not.

We want to take our time, see where Max’s thinking goes, and at the same time, monitor the other drivers. Carlos (Sainz) was very strong today, too. And that’s why we’re a bit in observation mode at the moment .”

THE POINT ABOUT ANTONELLI: CREATE LOTS OF STORIES

Another driver who closely concerns Mercedes and who has been talked about a lot in recent days is Kimi Antonelli. There were rumours of a request for an exemption from the FIA ​​to make his debut at the wheel of Williams in place of Logan Sargeant, already in Imola, but Wolff denied these reconstructions:

“As for Kimi, a lot of stories have been created. This doesn’t do him any favours because he needs to focus on F2. He is doing a lot of testing to get it up to speed. And I think this decision on the second driver will last weeks if not months. There has been no approach to the FIA ​​to obtain the advance super licence.”

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