Max Verstappen’s dad spotted with Mercedes boss Toto Wolff as Jos tells pals son ‘will move from Red Bull if he has too’

MAX Verstappen’s dad has been spotted cosying up to Mercedes boss Toto Wolff amid rumours Max could make a shock Red Bull exit.

Jos Verstappen, 51, reportedly told pals his son will move on from Red Bull Racing if he has too after publicly blasting Horner a “problem” as the sext scandal continues to plague the world of Formula One.

GettyJos Verstappen has made his feelings clear on Red Bull chief Christian Horner[/caption]

GettyJos has even told pals his son would leave Red Bull if he felt he had too, say reports[/caption]

Toto Wolff and Jos Verstappen have been seen having frequent chats in the past weekTwitter/Frederic Ferret

RexSources say Max could be forced to pick between his dad and his boss as his future has come under speculation[/caption]

As sources in and around the paddock now believe Jos is lining his son up for the available Mercedes seat next season in a blockbuster switch.

Jos has been seen with pal and Mercedes boss Toto Wolff for more regular and cheerful chats than ever since the sexting allegations against Horner came out.

The pair were spotted together deep in conversation on several occasions at the first race of the F1 season in Bahrain as a very public feud between Jos and Horner continues to rumble on.

Verstappen could be forced to make the tricky decision whether he sticks with Red Bull and tries to continue his domination or jump ship to another team to keep his dad happy.

A seemingly toxic Red Bull have Max – the three time world champion – under contract for the next four years until 2028, however.

But sources say Jos and Toto’s close relationship could pave the way for Max to replace Ferrari-bound Lewis Hamilton next year.

Hamilton achieved unbelievable success at Mercedes but in recent years Max has taken over as the best driver on the grid..

The pair – who have been friends for a while – were even seen talking at their hotel The Four Seasons, Telegraph Sport understands.

Wolff was also quizzed on Verstappen’s future post-race and quickly shut down the rumours of a potential blockbuster move.

The Mercedes boss noted Verstappen has the best car on the grid at the moment and is in a perfect position in terms of his role in the team as the clear lead driver.

He said: “I think the driver will always choose the quickest car.

“That is fundamentally what it’s all about. At the moment, the Red Bull is the quickest car so that will always be in my opinion the priority.”

But Toto was unusually complimentary of the Dutchman saying he was “in a different galaxy” to the other 19 drivers before labelling him as “extraordinary”.

The public flirting comes as Mercedes tried to sign Max when he was a junior driver before Red Bull swooped in and made him a superstar.

Mercedes stalwart Wolff – who started at the Silver Arrows at the same time as Hamilton and has led them to eight titles – is widely regarded as Horner’s arch nemesis.

Wolff was bought into Mercedes to squash Red Bull’s dominance after Sebastian Vettel claimed four world titles in a row.

And Wolff quickly got the team firing as they stayed at the top of the sport for almost a decade.

This led Horner and Wolff to be caught up in a war of words for years with each one battling to be the top team principle in the paddock.

The team is in danger of being torn apart. It can’t go on the way it is. It will explode

Jos Verstappen

Jos has also been in a long-running feud with Horner, say sources, as he ‘blew his top’ with bombshell comments about the Red Bull chief in Bahrain.

The Dutchman said Red Bull Racing will “explode” if Horner remains team principal.

Continuing on to say: “There is tension here while he remains in position.

“The team is in danger of being torn apart. It can’t go on the way it is. It will explode.

“He is playing the victim, when he is causing the problems.”

It comes as

Horner broke his silence after the string of shock texts to a female colleague were leaked

Geri Halliwell’s marriage to Christian Horner is said to be “in question” following the sext leak

The Spice Girl is said to have “felt like a fool” after Horner played down sexting claims

Geri was “left humiliated” as she faces the “worst PR crisis of her career”

mole close to the Red Bull Racing camp allegedly detonated the Christian Horner sexting scandal in a bid to oust the F1 team boss

The Red Bull Racing boss was cleared of sending improper texts to a female employee a day before the bombshell leak

Formula One chief Mohammed Ben Sulayem broke his silence after his showdown with Christian Horner.

Max Verstappen breaks silence on boss’ sext scandal and admits he’s “distracted”

Verstappen wins Bahrain Grand Prix in style as Red Bull have perfect start to F1 season

Verstappen’s dad forced to deny being behind Christian Horner’s sext leak

Horner was cleared of any inappropriate behaviour following an internal investigation after a complaint was raised by a female colleague at his F1 team.

However, 24 hours after the issue seemed squashed an anonymous email was leaked revealing damning WhatsApp messages claiming to be from part of the report.

Horner would not comment on the images, whose release now seem to be targeted as an orchestrated smear campaign looking to destroy him.

He has not mentioned if they are real or fabricated, either.

Some have even speculated saying Jos could’ve been the mastermind behind the leaks.

But when asked if he was involved, Jos strongly denied the claims, saying: “That wouldn’t make sense.

“Why would I do that when Max is doing so well here?”

Wolff stoked more fire over the scandal, calling for more transparency as the F1 must “set their compass right”.

Wolff questioned Red Bull Racing’s handling of the probe and sext scandal and called on the FIA to act on it, the Mail reported.

That includes FIA president Mohammad ben Sulayem and F1 chief executive Stefano Domenicali, who were both among the 149 recipients of Horner’s sext messages.

Speaking after Saturday’s Bahrain Grand Prix, Toto said: “Let’s see where it goes in the next few days.

“I would very much hope that the governing body and the commercial rights’ holder set the compass right.

“But the moment I continue to question how this has been handled, I am probably not doing any good to the whole issue, because then it could be seen as this just being about a power fight within F1.

“That’s why it should not be in the team’s [Red Bull’s] hands.

The Mercedes boss added: “It’s a much bigger topic than that and I don’t want to diminish the whole situation by making it seem like the Mercedes guy is talking about the Red Bull guys.”

The Sun alleged on Saturday how a mole inside the Red Bull camp had detonated the emailed file to F1 personnel, which claimed to be evidence from the private hearing into a complaint.

Horner, 50, had always denied the allegations and was cleared by Red Bull to continue in his role on Wednesday after the employee’s claim for grievance was dismissed.

The email file dump – known as Google Drive To Survive in the paddock – turned that on its head with Horner defiant he is staying put.

Who is Jos Verstappen?

A FORMER F1 driver himself, Jos achieved two podiums in 106 races but has recently been better known as the father of world champion Max Verstappen.

Jos can frequently be seen behind the scenes at Red Bull during the race weekends and takes pride in supporting his son publicly.

However, he has been the subject of some scrutiny in the past.

After an incident in 1998 at a karting track where another man suffered a fractured skull, he avoided a suspended jail sentence after agreeing an out-of-court settlement with the victim.

Ten years later, he appeared in court, charged with assaulting his wife, Sophie Kumpen.

He was found not guilty of assault, but guilty of threatening Kumpen in text messages and of violating a previously issued restraining order.

He was fined and sentenced to three months probational, suspended prison sentence.

And in January 2012, he was arrested following accusations that he drove a car into his ex-girlfriend but was released two weeks later after the charge was withdrawn.

He has overseen his son’s career like a hawk and now, with a wedge drive between himself and Horner, it leaves Max Verstappen in an awkward position.

GettyVerstappen and Horner have dominated F1 in recent years[/caption]

GettyWolff and Horner have been in a feud for the past decade as both compete for the best boss in F1[/caption]

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