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Marko: Verstappen has good memory, won’t join Mercedes

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Dr. Helmut Marko insists Max Verstappen would not be lured away from Red Bull, especially by Mercedes, as there is too much bad history between the two.

Mercedes are on the look for driver to replace Lewis Hamilton in 2025 as the Briton will be a Ferrari driver by then, and Toto Wolff recently said he can be bold with the decision to replace the seven-time Formula 1 World Champion.

And while many names have been linked with that vacant 2025 Mercedes seat, Fernando Alonso, Carlos Sainz, to name a couple, Verstappen is tied down with Red Bull up to 2028.

But as we know, anything in F1 is possible, and contracts are made to be broken, so when asked about speculation that Wolff may be working to scoop Verstappen from Red Bull, Marko said: “That’s actually his job as team boss, that he does everything he can to get the best drivers.

Speaking to oe24, Marko added that he’s confident of the Dutchman’s loyalty: “He [Verstappen] has a good memory, and too much has happened in the past.

“I just remember Silverstone [the infamous crash with Hamilton at Copse] or the turmoil at the [2021] finale in Abu Dhabi. This runs deep,” he explained.

Hamilton’s move from Mercedes, a team with whom he won six F1 Titles, took everyone by surprise, even Wolff who always felt the Briton would not leave the team.

Brought to his attention how Wolff claimed a piece of paper would not come between him and Hamilton, Marko responded sarcastically: “A Ferrari contract would.”

However, the Austrian was wary of an unexpected move for Verstappen away from Red Bull adding: “I would rule that out.”

The RB20 potential will be revealed in Bahrain

red bull rb20 launch f1 car 2024

For now, Red Bull and Max Verstappen are gunning for another title double in 2024, the new RB20 released last week, taking the F1 world by surprise as a radical evolution of the all conquering RB19.

The RB19/Verstappen combo has been so dominant that many believed the Red Bull ace could fight for the Championship in 2024 even with the 2023 car, but Marko dismissed that notion.

He said: “That’s nonsense. Last year we had McLaren B-car had already come close on certain routes, but they were not consistent enough.”

As for the new RB20’s potential, he explained: “That will become clear during the tests in Bahrain next week. What you can already say is that the new car is an evolution of last year’s car, and we had the best package.

“If we eliminate the few weak points, not much should go wrong. But who knows: Maybe a competitor has managed a special trick during development,” Marko mused.

And while Red Bull with Verstappen at the wheel are still the package to beat in 2024, the fact that team boss Christian Horner is under investigation for “inappropriate behavior” may end up to be a destabilizing effect.

Marko refused to comment on the Horner situation saying: “I can’t tell you that or anything else on this topic. As long as the investigation is ongoing or there is no result, you will not hear anything from me. This is an ongoing process.

“I hope that we can quickly get our turbulence under control. Luckily our car is ready and we are well prepared,” he concluded, insinuating that he is not worried about the team’s performance.