In Brief

F1: ‘Nonsense - Toto Wolff never calls Max’, says driver’s father Jos Verstappen

Dutch GP could return in 2020 and Renault aim to kick-start season in China

Jos Verstappen hits back at Merc rumours

It was widely reported this week that Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff had “repeatedly” been in contact with Red Bull driver Max Verstappen.

Red Bull Racing advisor Helmut Marko made the claims when speaking to Auto Bild. Marko had said: “Toto Wolff calls him and his father repeatedly and has done for months.

“But I’m relaxed, the performance clause in Max’s contract should be safe, and he feels comfortable with us. If we provide him world championship-worthy material, I’m not worried that he’ll go.”

However, according to the 21-year-old’s father Jos his son has never been contacted by the Mercedes chief.

In an interview with Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf Verstappen senior said: “That’s nonsense. Toto never calls Max. I don’t even think he has his number. I do occasionally speak to Toto, but that makes sense.

“We are very satisfied with Red Bull and with the cooperation with Honda. We are working together to make a dream come true.”

F1 to return to the Netherlands?

Max Verstappen fans in Holland could soon be celebrating after reports claimed that the Dutch Grand Prix could return to the Formula 1 schedule in May 2020.

GPFans.com says that Dutch circuit Zandvoort is believed to have reached a deal with F1 bosses to bring a race back to the Netherlands from next year. The last Dutch GP to be held was 35 years ago.

Motorsport Week understands that the deal will be for five years and could be announced next week.

Renault falling short

Cyril Abiteboul admits that Renault’s start to the 2019 season has “fallen short of our high expectations”.

The team has had three DNFs in the opening two races and in Bahrain both Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg retired within seconds of each other.

They head to China this weekend looking to kick-start their season and get among the points at the Shanghai International Circuit.

Renault team principal Abiteboul told F1.com: “Our overall competitiveness is good enough for our drivers to be racing in the top ten and closer to the top teams than last year. But we have suffered from reliability issues.

“We move onto China with caution, but also with a resolution to really get the season going.”

The Chinese Grand Prix - the third race of the 2019 season - marks a huge milestone for F1.

Taking place in Shanghai on Sunday 14 April (7.10am start UK time), the Chinese GP will be the sport’s 1,000th world championship race.

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