May 25 - Toto Wolff and Dr Helmut Marko are continuing their obvious flirtation, as rumours of a sensational team switch for Max Verstappen refuse to die.

Over the years, Austrians Wolff and Marko have often been at furious odds with clashing personalities and their highly-competitive Mercedes versus Red Bull rivalry.

But amid the power struggle, internal turmoil and Christian Horner scandal at Red Bull this year, Red Bull's F1 consultant Marko and Mercedes' team boss and co-owner Wolff have obviously formed a new alliance.

"Because we stand for the same values," Wolff told Osterreich in Monaco.

Separately, but to the same Austrian newspaper, 81-year-old Marko agrees.

"There are no longer the tensions that we had in recent years," he said. "I heard that we are now blood brothers, but that is clearly an exaggeration."

What Wolff has suggested, however, is that he might have a place for Marko at Mercedes as a sort of 'new Niki Lauda'-like character - especially if Verstappen is part of the deal.

"That's nice," Marko smiled. "But it's all so far away. Our goal now is to calm the team down and win the world championship, which will be difficult enough."

However, he does admit: "Niki would certainly have been a great help to Mercedes right now."

As for Wolff, he confirms that he and Marko "have become much closer" in past weeks and months.

He hints that Horner's behaviour at Red Bull have united F1's two most prominent Austrians.

"Despite the rivalry," said Wolff, "there are common values that we stand for. With all the things that have happened in the past few months, we have realised that we think alike."

He is therefore not ruling out that Marko and Verstappen, bound together by loyalty, could both make an eventual move to Mercedes.

"It's less about Max than about the behaviour of some people," Wolff insists. "That's where we think similarly.

"But let's put it this way - anything is possible in F1."

The good news for Red Bull at Monaco is emerging reports that long-time chief engineer Paul Monaghan has signed a new contract.

There had been rumours that Monaghan might follow Adrian Newey out the door. Newey is in Monaco this weekend, but he was spotted wearing 'civilian' clothing on Friday, having been locked out of Red Bull's technical meetings.

"You almost suspect that they've slowed down a bit ever since the Adrian Newey news," former Red Bull driver Robert Doornbos told Ziggo Sport. "But that cannot be the cause."

When asked about his non-Red Bull attire at Monaco, Newey told Sky Italia with a smile: "Should I be on holiday? 50-50."

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