George Russell and Toto Wolff react to Max Verstappen to Mercedes rumours

George Russell will have a new teammate at Mercedes in 2025 (Photo: Getty)

George Russell says he would ‘welcome’ Max Verstappen at Mercedes amid rumours the reigning F1 champion could leave Red Bull because of the Christian Horner scandal.

A week ago, Horner was cleared after an investigation into allegations of ‘inappropriate behaviour’ made against him by an employee of his Red Bull team.

The scandal is not going away however, after texts and images supposedly related to the probe were leaked, though Horner, husband of former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell, has ‘fully denied’ all accusations.

Following last weekend’s season opener in Bahrain, Max’s father, Jos Verstappen, called for Horner to be sacked, and has privately stated that his son would leave Red Bull if the team principal remained in charge.

Max Verstappen has been a part of the Red Bull family his whole career, won the last three championships with them, and has a contract until 2028.

But reports say that his deal does contain an exit clause, but if he were to leave Mercedes would appear to be his only realistic destination, especially with a seat free there from next year when Sir Lewis Hamilton will move to Ferrari.

Though the prospect of Max Verstappen joining the Silver Arrows seems far-fetched, Russell says he would relish the challenge of being teammates with the Dutchman.

F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain

Max Verstappen has an exit clause in his Red Bull contract (Photo: Getty)

‘I think any team wants to have the best driver line-up possible and right now Max is the best driver on the grid, so if any team had the chance to sign Max they would 100 per cent be taking it,’ the British driver said ahead of this weekend’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

‘So I think the question is more on the other side, on his side and on Red Bull’s side. Obviously so much [is] going on there. We don’t know what truly goes on behind closed doors and ultimately it’s none of our business right now.

‘But yeah, I guess it would be exciting. I would welcome anyone and believe I can beat anyone.’

Christian Horner investigation – what we know

While Russell may be up for the test of taking on a three-time champion, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff isn’t convinced the move will happen, but did not rule anything out.

‘The market is very interesting,’ the Austrian told Sky Sports.

‘For a driver, the most important thing is to be with whoever is fastest, and there is no reason now for Max to leave Red Bull anytime soon.

‘But we’ll see what happens.’

Wolff has repeatedly stated that he will not rush the decision on who will replace Hamilton, with a wide variety of drivers linked with the Silver Arrows, including Verstappen, Carlos Sainz Jr., Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel and Andrea Kimi Antonelli.

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