Niki Lauda Would Have Got Max Verstappen to Mercedes; Claims F1 Pundit

Niki Lauda Would Have Got Max Verstappen to Mercedes; Claims F1 Pundit
Credits: IMAGO Marco Canoniero

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff regretted not being able to sign Max Verstappen in 2015. Red Bull gave the Dutchman a direct entry into F1 via their sister team Toro Rosso, which is why he joined hands with the Milton-Keynes-based outfit. Almost 10 years later, Verstappen is linked to Mercedes once again, but the team’s poor mechancial package means, convincing the three-time world champion will be difficult. Christian Danner, however, feels that Niki Lauda could have lured Verstappen to Mercedes.

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While speaking to Servus TV (as quoted by planetf1.com), Danner said, “Toto clearly said I want him! What should he do? What he certainly lacks is Niki Lauda. He would have put him there“.

Lauda, a three-time world champion was one of the most respectable figures in the F1 paddock. His leadership qualities during his time at Mercedes led to the team’s immense success during the turbo-hybrid era, and he also played a crucial role in getting Lewis Hamilton to join Mercedes in 2013.

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Now that Hamilton is leaving, Wolff wants a perfect replacement. And, there is no better driver in F1 at the moment, than Max Verstappen. When it comes to signing the 26-year-old, he doesn’t want to make the mistakes he made in the past, and per Danner, they would have been avoided if Lauda was still around.

Wolff desperately wants a top driver heading into the new regulation changes of 2026. Hamilton didn’t want a short-term contract, and Mercedes didn’t offer him otherwise, which contributed to his departure from the team. While there are other suitors too, with plenty of drivers out of contract in 2024, the one Wolff really wants, drives for Red Bull.

Toto Wolff desperately wants to sign Max Verstappen

Since Toto Wolff has been praising Max Verstappen so often recently, the Dutchman himself expressed surprise. In a recent interview, the 26-year-old said, “Lately Toto has been really nice. Saying lots of nice things about me“.

The three-time champion is well aware that Wolff is desperate to get his signature. Wolff, in one of the interviews also went to the extent of claiming that he would perform handstands if that is what it took to convince Verstappen to join Mercedes.

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Considering how keen Wolff is to sign Verstappen, the Dutchman may be able to negotiate a good deal with Mercedes, should he choose to leave Red Bull. If Mercedes fail to get the signature of Verstappen and choose against promoting Andrea Kimi Antonelli,  they also have the opportunity to sign Carlos Sainz.

The Spaniard will leave Ferrari at the end of this season as Lewis Hamilton will replace him from next year onwards. Sainz is currently in the form of his life, and has a win and two podiums in the three races he took part his season.

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