Verstappen snubs Red Bull in favour of Mercedes

FIA Formula 3 Championship, Moscow Raceway

Max Verstappen

Teenage hot property Max Verstappen has turned down an offer from reigning Formula 1 World Champions Red Bull as he maps a path to Formula 1.

The talented son of former Benetton and Minardi driver Jos Verstappen visited the Hockenheim paddock last weekend, reportedly at the invitation of several Formula 1 teams.

Young Dutchman Verstappen, 16, is the hot talent of European F3 since moving up from karts, and now the target of top Formula 1 teams including McLaren and Ferrari.

Father and son reportedly sat down with Helmut Marko ahead of the German Grand Prix, undoubtedly to discuss the possibility of Verstappen Jnr. joining Red Bull’s famous young driver programme.

“When the time is right,” Jos told De Telegraaf newspaper, “we will bite the bullet, but not before.”

It appears, however, that the Verstappens ultimately said “no” to Red Bull.

Italy’s Autosprint said that the Dutch rookie has decided instead to team up with Mercedes, with the relationship to be formalised ‘in the coming days’.

The report said that Verstappen jnr. hopes to make the move to the Formula 1 feeder category GP2 for 2015, “but in the short term there are reports of a test in a Mercedes Formula 1 car of 2012″. (GMM)