Wolff clarifies Verstappen call, says it's a 'non story'

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Toto Wolff has labelled his phone call to Max Verstappen's father Jos as “non story”, saying the Red Bull driver is just what Formula One needs at the moment.

The Mercedes motorsport boss admitted over the Brazilian Grand Prix weekend that he had called Verstappen Snr to warn about the danger of his son potentially interfering in the title fight between Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton.

Wolff, who criticised Verstappen for attacking the current championship leader at the previous race in Mexico, describes his chat with the Dutchman’s father as “a complete non-story for me”.

“I had a really nice conversation with Jos, like I have had many nice conversations in the past about many things like driving and young drivers and on everything including his daughter and karting, I’ve had him for dinner at my house! So what’s all that nonsense?” he added.

“I think [Max] is a great driver who has incredible skill and is a refreshing character. He is spontaneous and intelligent.

“Out of the Red Bull team I am a really big fan and he is just what the doctor ordered in Formula One. I think that a lot of positive stuff in Formula One is created around headlines and the last thing I want is to change his approach because it is important for Formula One.”

Wolff also took the opportunity to clarify what he told the ex-grand prix racer, saying he was worried about the 19-year-old receiving further negative press after being involved in several on-track controversies this year.

“The things we discussed with Jos were two things, first of all I felt unfortunately for Max there was a negative spin in the media around his driving which I said was unjustified in my eyes and that I felt it needed to be counter-steered somehow.

“I think it was important for Max, it was a personal opinion not as someone from Mercedes, and just a personal conversation I would have with him regularly. He acknowledged it.

“Number two… there are two races to the end and if an accident would happen it add to the negative spin from the media which could be avoided.

“It was just to consider it as it was not as important for Max as it is for the other two and we are in a very fortunate position that whoever wins is going to be a Mercedes driver so it was out of sympathy for Max.”

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