Why Mercedes needed time to make Verstappen ‘million-dollar offer’

Why Mercedes needed time to make Verstappen ‘million-dollar offer’
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Toto Wolff has stated on multiple occasions this year that he would like to bring Max Verstappen to Mercedes.

Now, it is being reported that a multi-million dollar offer to the three-time world champion has been made. This would not be an illogical move by the Germans and it is also not surprising that it has taken a while.

Every F1 team would love to welcome Verstappen, the Dutchman has three world titles to his name and seems to be well on his way to adding a fourth crown to his trophy cabinet.

That is why he is often mentioned in the list of best drivers of all-time. It makes sense that every team would love to bring Verstappen in, perhaps even Ferrari.

The doors at Ferrari seem to be locked until at least 2026, so F1 fans are not going to see a dream fight between Verstappen and Hamilton at the Scuderia.

However, Verstappen could end up driving Hamilton’s Mercedes car. Wolff is still not letting Verstappen off the hook, which makes perfect sense. After all, why not try to bring in the current world champion?

Rumbling

At Red Bull, things still seem to be rumbling with the imminent departure of Adrian Newey, so Verstappen will likely want to keep his options open. After all, there is no certainty that Red Bull will also have the best power unit on the grid in 2026. So can Mercedes offer that guarantee?

Not at the moment, but that question will be put to Mercedes and Wolff by Verstappen. Despite the fact that Mercedes was going to make a financial monster offer to Verstappen, money is not the main adviser for the Dutchman.

Verstappen mainly wants to know how Mercedes is going to build a winning car again. Over the past three years, Mercedes has performed woefully, resulting in many technical personnel departures.

So the first question is how Mercedes is going to fix that. What people can they bring in at short notice, and how confident are they that they can indeed build a competitive chassis in 2026?

Knowledge is the key word at the moment, as Mercedes has indicated often enough that they are at a loss for words with the W15.

One minute the car does exactly what the drivers and team want, the next George Russell and Hamilton can not move forward. Verstappen wouldn’t be happy with that. He wants to deliver.

Dominance

The past has shown, however, that Mercedes can handle regulation changes wonderfully. In 2014, Mercedes impressed at the beginning of the hybrid era.

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Mercedes created a huge gap with the competition and it took the other engine suppliers years to close its deficit. It was not until 2021 that Verstappen managed to put a personal end to Mercedes’ seven-year dominance.

That is a huge plus for Mercedes, though, because if they were able to do it in 2014, you would say the team should be good to go again in 2026. That is when the engine regulations go through another major overhaul.

Wolff and Mercedes should make it clear to Verstappen where they stand regarding their 2026 engine. The question, however, is to what extent they will share data from the new engine with Verstappen?

If Mercedes puts a multi-million-dollar offer on the table, they seem to have to go all-in. After all, Verstappen needs to know all the ins and outs before he could make the big move to Mercedes.

There is also a reason why the offer has taken a while to materialize. Mercedes’ F1 team is partly owned by Mercedes, partly by Wolff and partly by the company Ineos. These parties have had to talk to each other for a long time in recent weeks to come up with a plan.

They have to agree on the strategy they will implement to bring in Verstappen. All three parties are eager to attract Verstappen, but the question is whether all three also have the same strategy in mind. Do they dare to go all-in to convince the world champion?

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With the staggering offer that Mercedes has in mind – reports talk of €150 million a year – the answer, then, seems to be yes. Mercedes knows that Verstappen will reject the offer if they do not share everything openly with him.

So it doesn’t even matter so much how much money Mercedes will offer Verstappen, what matters is what guarantees they can give. So the team’s shareholders seem to agree on that strategy.

In addition, the various parties within Mercedes probably also agree on the huge amount they are willing to pay Verstappen. The amount is reportedly about three times Hamilton’s salary.

Logically, that part of the plan also took time. In summary, then, it is not strange that Mercedes would only now come up with a big offer and will present that to Verstappen and his management of him. Everything has to be settled in detail and that takes time with such a big offer.

For now, it is still a bit of a pipe dream whether Verstappen will actually switch to Mercedes, but what is clear is that the Germans are going to do everything they can to make their dream come true.

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