Wolff, Horner Clash Anew Over Verstappen's Red Bull Future

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wolff horner clash anew over verstappens red bull future

Toto Wolff and Red Bull counterpart Christian Horner have reignited their war of words over Max Verstappen after the Mercedes boss again hinted at poaching the three-time world champion.

Verstappen's future at Red Bull was thrown into doubt last month after his father, Jos, said the team was in danger of being 'torn apart' if Horner remained its principal.

RECAP | Chinese Grand Prix: Max wins both the marathon and the sprint for first victory in Shanghai

It came after allegations against Horner of inappropriate behaviour towards a woman colleague. He denied the claims and an internal investigation cleared him of wrongdoing.

Verstappen has publicly committed his future to Red Bull, but following the Dutchman's dominant victory at the Chinese Grand Prix on Sunday, Mercedes boss Wolff stirred the pot anew.

Wolff told reporters in Shanghai that 'everyone is waiting to see what he (Verstappen) is going to do'.

'There are so many factors that play a role for a driver joining,' said Wolff, who needs to replace seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton, who is leaving for Ferrari next year.

'Clearly, from the most rational point of view, that's the quickest car in the hands of the quickest driver,' said Wolff.

'But I don't think this is the only reason you stay where you are.'

READ | Verstappen says he's happy at Red Bull so 'no reason' to leave

Results from the Chinese Grand Prix:

1. Max Verstappen (NED/Red Bull) 56 laps in 1hr 40min 52.554sec, 2. Lando Norris (GBR/McLaren) at 13.773, 3. Sergio Perez (MEX/Red Bull) at 19.160, 4. Charles Leclerc (MON/Ferrari) at 23.623, 5. Carlos Sainz (ESP/Ferrari) at 33.983, 6. George Russell (GBR/Mercedes) at 38.724, 7. Fernando Alonso (ESP/Aston Martin) at 43.414, 8. Oscar Piastri (AUS/McLaren) at 59.198, 9. Lewis Hamilton (GBR/Mercedes) at 57.986, 10. Nico Hulkenberg (GER/Haas) at 1:00.476, 11. Esteban Ocon (FRA/Alpine) at 1:02.812, 12. Alexander Albon (THA/Williams) at 1:05.506, 13. Pierre Gasly (FRA/Alpine) at 1:09.223, 14. Guanyu Zhou (CHN/Sauber) at 1:11.689, 15. Lance Stroll (CAN/Aston Martin) at 1:22.786, 16. Kevin Magnussen (DEN/Haas) at 1:27.533, 17. Logan Sargeant (USA/Williams) at 1:35.110

Retirements:

Lap 20: Valtteri Bottas (FIN/Sauber)

Lap 27: Yuki Tsunoda (JPN/RB)

lap 34: Daniel Ricciardo (AUS/RB)

Fastest lap: Alonso 1min 37.810sec

World Championship Standings

Drivers:

1. Max Verstappen (NED) 110 pts, 2. Sergio Perez (MEX) 85, 3. Charles Leclerc (MON) 76, 4. Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP) 69, 5. Lando Norris (GBR) 58, 6. Oscar Piastri (AUS) 38, 7. George Russell (GBR) 33, 8. Fernando Alonso (ESP) 31, 9. Lewis Hamilton (GBR) 19, 10. Lance Stroll (CAN) 9, 11. Yuki Tsunoda (JPN) 7, 12. Oliver Bearman (GBR) 6, 13. Nico Hulkenberg (GER) 4, 14. Kevin Magnussen (DEN) 1

Constructors:

1. Red Bull 195 pts, 2. Ferrari 151, 3. McLaren 96, 4. Mercedes 52, 5. Aston Martin 40, 6. RB 7, 7. Haas

Earlier this season, Wolff said that he 'would love' to sign the reigning world champion Verstappen if he became available.

His latest comments triggered a prickly response from Horner, who said that Wolff should focus on trying to revitalise Mercedes following a poor start to the season by their high standards.

'Why would you want to leave this team?' Horner said.

'Mercedes are third behind their customers (McLaren and Aston Martin).

'His time would be better spent perhaps focusing on the team rather than the driver market.

'I can assure you that there is no ambiguity about where Max Verstappen will be next year.'