Lewis Hamilton ‘blindsided’ Toto Wolff 24 hours before Ferrari move was confirmed

Toto Wolff was left stunned after Lewis Hamilton broke the news of his shock F1 switch to Ferrari.

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 at a team photograph.
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 at a team photograph.

Lewis Hamilton reportedly “blindsided” Mercedes F1 team principal Toto Wolff by informing him of his shock decision to join Ferrari just 24 hours before the story broke.

Wolff was said to be “completely taken by surprise” when Hamilton told the Mercedes boss he had exercised an exit clause in his contract so that he could move to Ferrari in 2025, according to The Telegraph.

The Telegraph report that the seven-time world champion informed Wolff of the seismic switch during what has been described as a “pre-arranged meeting” at the latter’s Oxford home on Wednesday.

Hamilton’s bombshell left Wolff in a “scramble” to call an urgent meeting for 2pm on Thursday in which Mercedes staff were informed that the most successful driver in F1 history was to leave the team at the end of the upcoming season.

The report added Ferrari’s willingness to offer Hamilton, now 39, a multi-year deal that will take him “through to 2026 at least”, was “instrumental” in the Briton’s decision to trade Brackley for Maranello.

Mercedes “were not prepared to offer Hamilton more than a two-year deal to the end of 2025”, the publication said.

Hamilton signed this contract last summer but was able to insert a break clause, enabling him to leave the German manufacturer at the end of 2024.

Hamilton’s Ferrari deal is “likely to put him back on a par with Red Bull’s triple world champion Max Verstappen at £50m per season”, the report added. 

Hamilton described his call to leave Mercedes as one of the "hardest decisions" he has made in F1. 

"I have had an amazing 11 years with this team and I'm so proud of what we have achieved together," Hamilton said. 

"Mercedes has been part of my life since I was 13 years old. It's a place where I have grown up, so making the decision to leave was one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make. But the time is right for me to take this step and I'm excited to be taking on a new challenge.

"I will be forever grateful for the incredible support of my Mercedes family, especially Toto for his friendship and leadership and I want to finish on a high together.

"I am 100% committed to delivering the best performance I can this season and making my last year with the Silver Arrows, one to remember."

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