Wolff: No relevance for what this guy [Mintzlaff] says

Wolff: No relevance for what this guy [Mintzlaff] says

Wolff: No relevance for what this guy [Mintzlaff] says

Toto Wolff was not amused by Red Bull GmbH’s Managing Director, Oliver Mintzlaff telling him to mind his own business as the Mercedes boss continues to chase Max Verstappen to replace Lewis Hamilton.

Wolff has previously admitted that Mercedes would love to have Verstappen as a replacement to the Ferrari-bound Hamilton in 2025, with sources even claiming the eight-time Formula 1 Constructors’ Champions considering signing the Dutchman as a key step for the team’s resurrection after the past few lean years.

With Christian Horner’s scandal and Red Bull’s recent internal power struggles destabilizing the team, talk of Verstappen leaving increased, and the official announcement of Adrian Newey’s departure did not help.

Horner recently told Wolff to basically focus on getting his team in order rather than chase drivers that were not available and recently Red Bull GmbH big boss Oliver Mintzlaff sent the Mercedes boss a similar message.

Bild Am Sonntag quoted Mintzlaff saying: “I understand the pressure that Toto Wolff and perhaps other teams have after years of being behind. But I think Toto Wolff should concentrate on his challenges. He has enough of those.

“And it also has something to do with respect. If I keep talking about the personnel of other teams, that’s not right,” he added.

Asked about Mintzlaff’s comments, Wolff bluntly responded: I don’t know what this guy is commenting on, it has no relevance for me.”

When asked if Mentzlaff’s statement contradicts the normal business practice where for any F1 team boss has the right to try an attract any driver, Wolff reiterated: “As I said, that has no relevance for what this guy says to me.”

Reports emerged in the paddock over the course of the Miami Grand Prix that Mercedes were meeting with Verstappen or his management team during this week.

Wolff avoiding playing chess with humans

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Wolff denied these reports, he said: “There’s always plenty of meetings. I can’t really say about the second driver, I think we’ve talked about the possibilities, I want to be fair to these guys and not make it look like we are playing chess with humans because we are not doing that.

“We want to take our time, see where Max’s thinking goes and at the same time monitor the other drivers, Carlos was very strong today again and that’s why we are a little bit on an observation mode at the moment.”

The belief is that Verstappen’s future plans are key to the driver market from 2025 and beyond, and when quizzed whether the Red Bull ace is a key chess piece, he said: “I think for all of the teams he is.

“As I said before, [if] I was him, I wouldn’t leave, at least for 2025, but he’s the leading driver, he’s the top guy at the moment and that’s why he needs to take those decisions and there may not be any decisions to take, maybe everything continues like it is, but that is also guidance for us,” he explained.

Wolff is reportedly considering to field Mercedes junior driver Andrea Kimi Antonelli in 2025 with reports claiming he may be placed at Williams as soon as Imola to prepare him for the big job in 2025, something Williams boss James Vowles denied despite claims the Grove outfit applied for a dispensation with the FIA to allow the F2 Italian driver to drive in F1 despite being still 17 years old – he has enough points for a super license.

Asked about Antonelli’s chances, Wolff said: “As for Kimi, so many stories were created, it doesn’t do him any favour because he needs to concentrate on his F2 campaign, he’s doing lots of testing for us in order to bring him up to speed and I think this decision of the second driver is weeks if not months away.

“We didn’t make any approach to the FIA about getting an earlier release,” the Austrian concluded.

(Quotes by Agnes Carlier)