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Mercedes keeping an eye on Verstappen for the future


Toto Wolff dismissed a meeting with Jos Verstappen on Friday in Monza as just a social encounter but admits Mercedes is keeping his son closely in its sights.

Max Verstappen's string of reliability issues this season with Red Bull Racing have bewildered the young Dutchman and his father who have both labeled the mechanical woes affecting his performance as unacceptable.

The 19-year-old is under a long term contract with the Milton Keynes-based outfit which runs until the end of 2019, although it is rumored that certain provisions could allow Verstappen to leave the team at the end of next season.

A meeting between Jos Verstappen and Toto Wolff on Friday only fueled speculation that preliminary talks may have been initiated by the Verstappen camp, but the Mercedes boss played down the suggestion.

"I’ve known Jos for many years," Wolff told Sky Germany.

"We have a common friend, Frank. He is on a visit here. So Niki [Lauda] and I sat in the office. Our Dutch friends came along and we had a coffee with them. Not more, not less." 

Wolff acknowledged however that a talent such as Max Verstappen always warrants an interest, although not in the short term as far as Mercedes is considered.

"For next year, no interest in Max Verstappen, he is not available," said Wolff. 

"He is one of the names you have to have on the radar. Max is one of the future stars of Formula 1.

"Like many others, like Valtteri [Bottas], like Daniel [Ricciardo]. Max and Esteban Ocon are part of this group of drivers as well."

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