Max Verstappen ‘Hasn’t Said A Word’ About Red Bull Exit – CEO

F1 Grand Prix Of Miami Qualifying
F1 Grand Prix Of Miami Qualifying

Max Verstappen has not “said a word” about wanting to leave Red Bull’s dominant Formula 1 team, according to a top CEO of the famous energy drink company.

Oliver Mintzlaff, one of the direct successors put in place in the wake of founder Dietrich Mateschitz’s death, made a rare visit to the F1 paddock this weekend and scolded Toto Wolff for making “inappropriate” comments about wanting to poach the triple world champion.

But when asked if he’s afraid of losing the Dutch driver, Mintzlaff told Bild am Sonntag newspaper at the Miami GP: “No. He is a thoroughbred racer and wants to win every race, every qualifying session and every practice session.

“That is what ties us together. It is in his and our DNA, and he has found the perfection conditions with us. We have created a unique setup and built the best car in Formula 1.”

Verstappen has a long and lucrative contract through 2028, but it reportedly contains several exit clauses that might allow him to escape prematurely.

“Max still has a long-term contract here,” Mintzlaff said, “and he hasn’t said a word about not wanting to fulfil it. I’m not even remotely worried that he’s considering a move.

“Things just need to calm down again,” said the German amid the ongoing leadership power struggle, which clearly contributed to Adrian Newey’s exit.

“Max wants it to calm down too, and we do we. That’s what you need if you want to be successful in sport in the long term, whether it’s football or Formula 1.”

Verstappen, 26, said in Miami that running around in the middle of the pack in a Mercedes would be “irritating”, and he also denied that he’d do it for extra millions.

“No,” said Mintzlaff when asked if Verstappen might have other reasons to want to join Mercedes. “At least I can’t think of any.

“Max wants the fastest car – we have that. Max wants to be world champion – with us he has the best chance. And Max is also a loyal guy.

“He knows that Christian Horner and Helmut Marko have always put their trust in him. He appreciates that. Red Bull is also simply a great brand that he can really identify with.

“So there are many reasons for staying, and none against it,” he insisted.

However, it is often suggested that Verstappen’s true loyalty lies with 80-year-old mentor Dr Helmut Marko, who Toto Wolff says can accompany Max to Mercedes.

“I think that’s out of the question,” Mintzlaff insists. “Helmut is closely connected to Red Bull and we have a lot to thank him for. He also had the courage to entrust Max with a Formula 1 cockpit at the age of 17.”

He also suggests that the furore surrounding team boss Christian Horner now seems to be receding.

When asked if Red Bull can remain successful with Horner at the helm, Mintzlaff replied: “I am convinced of that. He only has the team’s success in mind and is a very good CEO.”

Horner, however, is overseeing the development of Red Bull’s very own Formula 1 engine in collaboration with Ford for 2026 and beyond, and it’s rumoured that Verstappen is nervous that it may not be competitive.

“We want to continue in 2026 where we are now – at the top of Formula 1,” Mintzlaff said. “Of course there is no guarantee, but while we have proven that we can handle major rule changes, other teams have not managed to close the gap to us for three years.

“Max will have noticed that too and it makes me look to the future with total optimism. We have been preparing for 2026 for a long time, and while building our own engine is a big task and challenge, we are confident that we can master it.

“This is the next stage of Red Bull’s development.”

Oliver Mintzlaff Scalds Toto Wolff

Oliver Mintzlaff, one of the top new CEOs at Red Bull in the wake of founder Dietrich Mateschitz’s death, has scolded Mercedes boss Toto Wolff.

Wolff is making no secret of his quest to snatch Max Verstappen away from Red Bull amid the energy drink company’s current power struggle and the Christian Horner scandal.

“I understand the pressure that Toto Wolff and perhaps other teams are under after years of being second to none,” Mintzlaff told Bild am Sonntag newspaper on a rare visit to the Formula 1 paddock.

“But I think Mr Wolff should concentrate on his challenges,” he added in Miami. “He has enough of those. It is also a matter of respect to keep talking about other teams’ personnel.

“That is not appropriate,” the German businessman insisted.

A key ally of Wolff’s in F1 is Zak Brown, CEO of the Mercedes-powered team McLaren, who revealed in Miami that plenty of CVs belonging to Red Bull team members are currently flying around the paddock.

“Of course he wants to stoke the fire,” triple world champion Max Verstappen said when asked about Brown predicting an exodus of Red Bull staff now that Adrian Newey is departing.

“It’s probably part of the game, but I’m not into that,” the Dutchman added. “I saw the headline on the internet, but I didn’t even click on it.

“Everyone is obviously attracted to our people. That’s pretty normal.”

However, The Times newspaper reports that Red Bull’s long-time sporting boss Jonathan Wheatley may also now be in the process of planning his departure.

“Of course you never know what will happen in the future,” said Verstappen. “Many agreements are in place within the team, but ultimately it’s important that everyone is happy with his or her work and also feels appreciated.

“There are a lot of human aspects involved.”

As for Mintzlaff getting involved in the fray, Verstappen says he welcomes that.

“I have a good relationship with Oliver,” he said. “He is not always here at the races, but of course he sees everything. And when he is there, like here in Miami, he naturally gets questions about it.”

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