Toto Wolff has leapt to the defence of his under scrutiny driver Lewis Hamilton after the Mercedes driver admitted 'heavy partying' played its part in a road collision in Monaco ahead of this weekend's Brazilian Grand Prix.
The three-time world champion, who picked up the 2015 title last month in Austin, revealed on his social media that he had been involved in a minor collision and had been suffering with a fever, leading him to arrive in Brazil later than intended
Though he initially declined to comment on the incident, Hamilton later suggested 'heavy partying' between the Mexican and Brazilian races was a determining factor.
With Hamilton coming under fire for the admission, Mercedes team boss Wolff has nonetheless thrown his support behind the Englishman, in particular his 'character and lifestyle', which he says Mercedes considers to be an asset so long as he continues to deliver results on track.
“Formula One needs characters,” Wolff told The Sun
. “Lewis is a rockstar racing driver and he does not only deliver in a car, he delivers for the brand in his life outside of the track. That life certainly creates controversy, but it also makes him a personality with edges. Just because many people out there judge that lifestyle to be detrimental to a racing drivers' career, it doesn't bother me at all because he delivers.
“If somebody is without fault. Very corporate. Very polished with no edges, his personality will not be as big and therefore not as good for the brand. If you have a great personality, there are going to be people who love you and those who hate you.”
Indeed, though Wolff accepts Hamilton can court controversy with his prominent social media presence, he feels this is unimportant when measured against his performances on track, adding that he deserves to enjoy his success.
“My main view is give the boy a break,” he continued. “You will cause controversy and this makes you. That is secondary for me. The primary objective is to deliver in the race car. This is why he is where he is.”
“He is the world champion. He has won races. It has been one of the most dominate seasons we have ever seen. He has done it all. Let him enjoy it. For me and the team, one thing is fundamental; that the drivers deliver the results.”