Lauda: 'Mercedes never entered talks with Verstappen'

Mercedes was linked with a move for Max Verstappen until he signed a new deal but Niki Lauda says they were never in for the Red Bull star.

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen.   -  Getty Images

Niki Lauda has told Red Bull it overpaid on Max Verstappen's new contract as Mercedes never entered negotiations with the Dutchman.

Reports earlier this year claimed that 20-year-old Max Verstappen, one of Formula One's brightest young talents, was in talks over a switch to the constructors' champions.

However, Verstappen signed a bumper new contract with Red Bull through to the end of 2020 in October, with suggestions that links to Mercedes increased the value of his deal.

Lauda, Mercedes' non-executive chairman, denied that an approach was ever made, though.

Speaking to Servus TV, he said: "We never made a proposal to Max. I have a good relationship with (Red Bull advisor) Helmut Marko as we often talk and fly together.

"We talked about Verstappen and I told him that they could have saved a lot of money, since we never entered negotiations with him."

Verstappen finished sixth in this year's drivers' standings, 32 points adrift of team-mate Daniel Ricciardo in fifth and 195 off champion and Mercedes star Lewis Hamilton.