Toto Wolff has played down suggestions he is about to snap up McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne.
The Mercedes boss caused a stir at Spa by reportedly telling the Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws that he rates Belgian Vandoorne as highly as his own chargers Pascal Wehrlein and Esteban Ocon.
“I’ve been following his career for five or six years,” he said.
“I am 100 per cent sure he will be in formula one next year. If McLaren is crazy enough not to take him, I’ll look for a place for him myself,” Wolff added.
Later, Wolff said the comments had caused a “misunderstanding”, and McLaren’s Eric Boullier said he would not comment.
And Jenson Button, who would be ousted unless McLaren is ‘crazy’, said after qualifying an impressive ninth on Saturday: “I think I gave my answer (to Wolff) in qualifying.”
However, it seems almost certain that McLaren will not let 24-year-old Vandoorne go. Mark Hughes, writing for the Sunday Times, claims the Honda-powered team has now told 36-year-old Button that Vandoorne will replace him.
Hughes added: “It is understood that Button has decided against a return to the Williams team with which he started his F1 career 16 years ago.”