Max Verstappen started his Formula One career when he was around 18 years of age. His F1 career began with Red Bull’s sister team Alpha Tauri (previous name – Torro Rosso). Clearly, it did not take much time for Max to jump from go-kart driving to Formula One. However, when he debuted for Alpha Tauri, Mercedes was ruling the grid with Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. They had the fastest car, and nobody came close to them.

But Verstappen waited for a long time to get where he is today. After driving for the Alpha Tauri team for a while along with Carlos Sainz Jr., the parent team realized the potential in the Dutchman. It is hard to believe, but Mercedes was also a front-runner in signing Max Verstappen in 2016. And now, the Mercedes boss Toto Wolff today regrets missing out on signing the two-time champion. However, Wolff is not sure if the combination of Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen would’ve worked.


Toto Wolff Regrets Not Signing Max Verstappen!

Toto Wolff Christian Horner Mercedes Red Bull
2NK0KPC (L to R): Toto Wolff (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 Shareholder and Executive Director and Christian Horner (GBR) Red Bull Racing Team Principal in the FIA Press Conference. 23.02.2023. Formula 1 Testing, Sakhir, Bahrain, Day One. Photo credit should read: XPB/Press Association Images.

In a recent interview with ESPN, Mercedes’ boss mentioned talking with Max’s parents about his future. Toto Wolff revealed that he talked with Max’s father and their manager Huub Rothengatter when they came to Brackley in his office. The budding Dutchman was almost at the end of his go-karting days in 2013 and the beginning of his F1 career in 2014. Later, Max Verstappen and his father, Jos, also went to Toto’s house in Vienna. But for Toto, it was not possible back then. Hence, he certainly regrets letting the chance of signing a possible future star go back then.

At the time, Mercedes was very happy with Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton in 2016. But after Nico left the team, Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas joined the team. Wolff also acknowledged that Max was not even available. Apparently, the Mercedes boss tried to find the positive in missing out on Max. He believed Hamilton was always the Mercedes guy. Hence, everything happened for a reason for him. And Max went to Torro Rosso, as it was clearly more suitable for Verstappen. However, since then, Max and the Mercedes boss have drifted apart. Moreover, there was not much hype around Verstappen back in 2016. 

Helmut Marko Was The First To Realize The Dutchman’s Potential In F1

Helmut Marko Red Bull
Helmut Marko Red Bull Drivers Source: PlanetF1

Primarily, it was Helmut Marko, the Red Bull advisor, who insisted the team management to sign in Max Verstappen as soon as possible. At first, Marko realized that the best weapon to beat Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton was the Dutchman. That’s when Verstappen joined the team and waited a little bit more to taste the championship glory in 2021, finally.

In the 2023 F1 season so far, Max Verstappen has won five races out of seven. Last year, he broke the record for winning the most races in a season. Previously, it was Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel who held the record. Both German racers had won 13 Grand Prix in a season. But Max Verstappen won 15 races last year. Since then, it has been quite unthinkable to picture the Dutchman in any other team’s uniform.