The intriguing F1 shakeup as drivers scramble for seats

At a time when the F1 world is abuzz with changes, the tension between Christian Horner and Toto Wolff has escalated due to Wolff’s aggressive attempts to lure Max Verstappen to Mercedes starting from 2025.

Lewis Hamilton’s unexpected switch to Ferrari has heated things up early this season, creating a ripple effect that’s felt across several teams. This significant move has left an opening at Mercedes, pushing Carlos Sainz to the forefront as his tenure with Maranello is forcibly ending.

“Apparently they’re only offering Carlos a one-year contract,” remarked 2016 world champion Nico Rosberg during a broadcast on Sky Deutschland from Shanghai.

Red Bull’s counteroffer to Sainz has also been in the spotlight. “Red Bull has made an offer to him too and yesterday I saw (Carlos) Sainz senior talking to Christian Horner, because apparently he (Horner) is being a bit stingy with the offer,” Rosberg added.

While Sainz finds himself in a precarious position, Red Bull seems to be eyeing another prospect, Lando Norris, despite his recent commitment to McLaren. Dr Helmut Marko, an advisor for Red Bull, openly praised Norris during the Chinese GP, saying, “He is young and certainly in our focus.”

Marko humorously mentioned a conversation regarding Norris: “His father always jokes that Lando won’t win a grand prix until Max retires. I told him that he has to come to us, then he would definitely go faster.”

Amid these discussions, Sergio Perez appears optimistic about his future at Red Bull. “I think it will be one more race to find out,” he told DAZN. “I really value being here and we have already made a lot of progress.”

Meanwhile, Audi-owned Sauber is presenting a longer-term option to Sainz, distinguishing itself from other teams. Haas’ standout performer, Nico Hulkenberg, is also in consideration for a seat there. In a light-hearted exchange, Rosberg probed Hulkenberg about his decision, “Have you signed it yet,” followed by “It’s on your table,” on the Sky Deutschland program.

When reporter Peter Hardenacke inquired, Hulkenberg maintained his humor, while Hardenacke later clarified: “Nico confirmed to us again that there’s nothing to report.”

In response to Wolff’s push for Verstappen, Horner didn’t mince words. “I think Toto has bigger problems than drivers he can’t get. It would make more sense for him to put his time and energy into his team rather than always causing trouble,” Horner retorted.

Wolff, not deterred, highlighted Mercedes’ readiness for the upcoming changes in engine regulations. “We are in a very good position for 2026 and we are ambitious with the targets we have set for batteries and fuel,” he declared confidently.

Furthermore, Wolff suggested that despite Verstappen’s current advantages, there were compelling reasons for a switch. “It’s easy to say ‘Max is in the fastest car’, but there are other reasons too, even for someone like Max.”

In a final jab, Horner pointed out, “Have you heard that George Russell’s contract expires at the end of 2025?”

GMM

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