Mercedes respond amid Red Bull fears of 2020 Verstappen swoop

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Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has played down suggestions he may try and lure Max Verstappen away from Red Bull next season.

This week, the Dutchman committed his immediate future to the Anglo-Austrian team while acknowledging his record of five fourth-place finishes wasn't what he was in Formula 1 for.

On Friday, however, Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko triggered more speculation as he revealed Verstappen does have a performance clause in his contract which, if the team can't meet, would allow him to consider a move elsewhere.

Instantly, that put the possibility of a move back to Mercedes back on the table, which is a story that has rumbled quietly for several months, but Wolff again insisted no talks have been entered into.

“I haven’t spoken to Max,” he said on Saturday

“I’d like to continue as we’ve always done it in the past, first to evaluate our current line up and discuss with the drivers and what their views are before really entering into a proper discussion with anybody else.”

The biggest hurdle that would stand between Verstappen and Mercedes would be Lewis Hamilton and whether the five-time champion would accept him as his teammate.

“People are always making up stuff. It’s the first I’ve heard of it," he commented. “I think the team’s pretty happy with Valtteri and me.

“I do know Max is definitely interested in opportunities. I don’t know. Maybe. If there is [a chance for him to join], then great.”

Verstappen then replied: "I don't mind driving with you. I'll drive against whoever!"