Toto Wolff has admitted Max Verstappen is on Mercedes’ radar for the future.
Jos Verstappen, the F1 teen sensation’s father, is openly confirming that while Toro Rosso was the right move for Max initially, he wants his son to be in a “top car” for 2017.
The 18-year-old made his mark on the sport with his audacious overtakes last year, and on Saturday got his 2016 campaign off to an impressive start by qualifying fifth.
“Mercedes and Ferrari are far ahead but I think you can call us ‘best of the rest’,” Max said.
Olav Mol, the well-known Dutch television commentator, told Ziggo Sport Totaal that “Max made a huge point to the team bosses” with his pace in Australia.
Wolff, the team boss at Mercedes where Nico Rosberg is out of contract at the end of the year, is openly impressed.
“It is clear that he (Verstappen) has a great future in F1. It would be stupid not to consider him as the opportunity arises. But at the moment this is not an issue,” said Wolff.
That is because Red Bull beat Wolff to putting Verstappen under long-term contract for 2015 and beyond.
“Max did not surprise me in his first year,” the Austrian said. “I knew how good he was.
“Now he is clearly ready for the next step,” added Wolff. “I know that Red Bull has high expectations for him so I would be very, very surprised if Max is not driving a Red Bull in 2017.”