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Max to Mercedes: entertaining the possibility and evaluating the driver market

Written by Meghana Sree, Edited by Debargha Banerjee

Just when we thought the F1 silly season couldn’t get any sillier, it did. And it’s only been two race weekends.

Amidst internal conflict within the Red Bull team, a flurry of rumours emerged signalling that if tensions escalate, Max Verstappen could indeed move to Mercedes to fill in the vacant seat left by Lewis Hamilton, who announced earlier this year that he will transfer to Ferrari in 2025 in one of the most iconic transfers any sport has seen.

This move would be made possible via a release clause in Verstappen’s long term contract, which evidently allows him to depart the team should Dr. Helmut Marko, Red Bull’s chief advisor, decides to leave.

Verstappen going to Mercedes would be as momentous as Hamilton’s move to Ferrari, and while the situation seems almost impossible to imagine, one thing is for certain, which is that the driver market would see a seismic shakeup. 

If Verstappen does in the near future make a groundbreaking move to the Silver Arrows, it would leave a large void for the Red Bull team to fill.

The most plausible candidate for the Red Bull seat would be Carlos Sainz, who, as of this article, does not have a team for 2025 onwards. He would be joining Sergio Perez in the team, whose contract ends in 2024. Perez, as a seasoned Red Bull driver, would be favoured to stay with the team, however, if his performance is not up to the mark, there are chances he might be replaced by Daniel Ricciardo, currently driving for Red Bull’s sister team.

Visa Cash App RB would then most definitely bring in Liam Lawson to complete their driver lineup, especially after Lawson proved his potential in 2023. 

Another shakeup that Verstappen’s move to Mercedes could trigger is the prospect of motorsports’ rising star, Kimi Antonelli, joining F1. Since the news of Hamilton’s exit from Mercedes, multiple sources have claimed that Antonelli is one of the strongest contenders for the Mercedes seat.

Verstappen filling that seat instead could result in the possibility of Antonelli being linked up with Williams, in the case that Logan Sargeant’s performance does not improve.

Speaking to Sky Sports Italy, Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff commented on the Verstappen-Mercedes rumours, stating: “For a driver, the most important thing is to be with whoever is fastest, and there is no reason now for Max to leave Red Bull anytime soon. But we'll see what happens.”

George Russell also weighed in on the possibility during the Drivers’ Press Conference before the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix: “If any team had the chance to sign Max, they’d 100% be taking it.”

Whether this team is Mercedes or if both parties will form a partnership remains to be seen. With more than half the grid’s contracts terminating at the end of the 2024 season, there are bound to be major shocks in the driver market going into 2025.

The possibility of Verstappen moving to Mercedes could only cause more frenzy in the paddock, and as of now, it leaves plenty of room for one’s imagination concerning the driver lineups for each team.

What do you think? Is Verstappen going to Mercedes completely absurd or actually possible? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!


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