Mercedes F1 Team Holding Door Open to Bring Max Verstappen on Board

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Mercedes F1 Team Holding Door Open for VerstappenRudy Carezzevoli - Getty Images

Mercedes F1 team principal Toto Wolff says that he is leaving Mercedes' door wide open for Max Verstappen for as long as possible this year.

Recently, Mercedes CEO and chairman Ola Kallenius caused a stir when he admitted that his top pick to replace Lewis Hamilton in the team's Formula 1 seat next year is another multiple-time world champion.

"The cards are being reshuffled," Kallenius said. "Silver would also suit Max well."

Meanwhile, Mercedes team boss and co-owner Wolff has also made no secret of favoring Verstappen even over and above his own 17-year-old protege' Kimi Antonelli.

"We want to delay the decision for as long as possible to remain flexible," Wolff said. "I don't think we can make a decision until November."

As for Verstappen, the Dutchman has a contract with Red Bull through 2028, with his boss Christian Horner believing Kallenius and Wolff are only trying to "destabilize" Red Bull.

However, the power struggle at Red Bull has already cost that team the services of Adrian Newey, with long-time advisor Dr. Helmut Marko also not ruling out a departure.

Wolff said: "Let Christian (Horner) believe that Verstappen will stay. Our job is to enable Lewis and George (Russell) to finish the season on a high level and we'll see if the W15 will be a car that can convince Max."

Wolff even hinted that Red Bull would face a major slump if Verstappen departed.

"I think it's Max who wins the races, not Red Bull," said Wolff. "The car is solid, but (Sergio) Perez is not doing well. It's Max who makes the difference."