Wolff stays out of McLaren, talks about Red Bull’s ‘Mercedes’

Wolff stays out of McLaren, talks about Red Bull's 'Mercedes'

Toto Wolff may have the final say, but for now he’s staying out of Zak Brown and Christian Horner’s debate over the 2022 Mercedes lineup.
Brown recently angered Red Bull adviser Helmut Marko when he said Max Verstappen will replace Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes at the end of this season.

The McLaren chief told the Daily Mail: “I think you’ll see Max and George there in 2022. I think that’s the obvious conclusion.

“George is breaking his deal and Max has a deal he’s getting out of.” You have the experience and the youth of Max, you have the youth of George. If I’m Mercedes, that’s a pretty murderous line-up for the next five years.

Marko told Brown to stay away from conversations he knows nothing about, while Horner called the McLaren chief’s comments “speculation.”

He added: “Maybe they are also likely to lead Daniel and Lando! We are in the first race, we are obviously perfectly aware of what the contracts with our drivers are. It’s a bit early for speculation.

Ultimately, neither Brown nor Horner will have much influence in Mercedes’ discussions with its drivers or their potential replacements.

As such, Wolff says he’s not going to get involved in their debate.

“I want to stay away from the discussion these two are having about who is going to drive the Mercedes,” he told media in Bahrain.

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Mercedes’ motorsport boss, however, has made it clear he won’t wait until January of next year to decide his roster for 2022.

This year, Mercedes were the last team to confirm their full roster, not announcing Hamilton until early February, after talks were delayed.

Those talks resulted in a one-year deal, meaning Mercedes has two seats open for 2022, with Valtteri Bottas only having one contract for 2021.

“We don’t want to leave him until January to confirm the two drivers,” Wolff insisted.

“Valtteri was pretty consistent during the summer, that’s when it should happen. Also, to give the driver peace of mind or to be able to concentrate on the job.

“And obviously, for next year there are a lot of bullets in the air and we will always try to do our best for the team in the long term while fully retaining our current team of drivers.

“We have no doubts about Valtteri or Lewis, but discussions are obviously going to take place – but not in January of next year. ”

Asked if he hopes Hamilton, who Brown says will take eighth place this year and call him retire, will stay put, Wolff replied, “I really hope so.

“The trip we made together was very successful. He’s been a Mercedes driver – a Mercedes kid since his kart years. He’s never raced a single weekend in Formula 1 without the Mercedes powertrain, so it’s the logical continuation of the story.

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