Former F1 driver Christian Danner has suggested that Mercedes should move past all ‘legal and monetary obstacles’ to bring Max Verstappen on board for the 2025 season. Toto Wolff has been left with a huge hole to fill in his driver line-up after Lewis Hamilton agreed to join Ferrari at the end of the upcoming campaign.
When the 2024 season draws to a close, Hamilton will have completed his 12th season with Mercedes, but it will also be his final. In a late-career switch, the seven-time world champion has viewed Ferrari as his best shot at returning to title contention and finally moving clear of Michael Schumacher at the top of the record books.
George Russell looks set to stay put at Brackley, but with no immediate succession plan in place, Wolff has been left without an obvious replacement for Hamilton. Given the fact that 13 of the 20 drivers on the grid are out of contract next winter, the Austrian has plenty of options, but none more compelling than Red Bull’s star driver.
Speaking to German news publication Bild about potential replacements for Hamilton, Danner said: “Every name has to be discussed. There must be no legal or monetary obstacles.
“Age doesn’t matter at all either. The same applies to contracts. Every driver who is at Silver Arrows level has to be a topic. That’s why Mercedes also has to think about Max Verstappen!”
The Dutchman will not be easy to acquire though. Verstappen put pen to paper on a mammoth contract after his maiden title triumph in 2021, signing on with Red Bull until the end of the 2028 campaign. The financial obstacles are then compounded by the 26-year-old’s loyalty to his team.
An approach for the Dutchman has even been predicted by Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko, who told sport.de: “Toto Wolff will try that – but he will be unsuccessful,” before adding that Verstappen has “a good memory” and has not forgotten the Mercedes boss’ criticisms after the 2021 British Grand Prix crash.
Danner also suggested that, in the event that Verstappen could not be tempted with a move to Mercedes, the Silver Arrows should try to poach one of the McLaren duo, both of whom are tied down to long-term contracts.
“Max would of course be the best possible solution, but the McLaren drivers Oscar Piastri and Lando Norris would also both be top successors for Lewis,” Danner explained. “Both have everything they need to win multiple World Championship titles if they have the right car.”