Toto Wolff mentions his own future in the wake of Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes exit

Toto Wolff clarifies his own future plans at Mercedes after Lewis Hamilton leaves for Ferrari

Lewis Hamilton, Toto Wolff, George Russell
Lewis Hamilton, Toto Wolff, George Russell

Will Lewis Hamilton’s exit from Mercedes force Toto Wolff to consider his own future?

No, the part-owner and team principal has unequivocally stated.

Wolff signed a three-year contract of his own last month, a statement of commitment which followed the extensions penned by Hamilton and George Russell last summer.

But, Hamilton has already activated a break clause in his deal to join Ferrari in 2025.

If Wolff knew about Hamilton’s plan to leave, would it have affected his own decision to sign a new Mercedes contract?

“No, it wouldn’t have changed that,” he confirmed.

“I think whatever role in the team, or whatever title they give it, I’m going to be there in the future.

“So it was a no-brainer to continue in an executive role, you can call it CEO, managing director, chairman, or team principal.

“The easiest way was to stick with what we have. It wouldn’t have affected me, because I’m so proud of being part of this Mercedes Formula 1 team, that carries this huge legacy of the star and racing history, and we’re going to write more history in the future, as the Mercedes Formula 1 team.

“And that is what I aim to do with everyone in the team, and with everybody in Stuttgart.

“And therefore as much as this journey is so special, we have 10 or 20 more years before I’m being overrun by a bus to have more success.”

Wolff’s big challenge now is to steer Mercedes through the F1 2024 season, knowing that star driver Hamilton is set to leave at the end of the year for a direct rival.

The Mercedes boss must plan for Hamilton’s successor while still trying to close the gap to the dominant Red Bulls, who are aiming at giving Max Verstappen a fourth consecutive F1 title.

Hamilton will then link up with Ferrari from 2025 where his team principal will be Fred Vasseur, who he has known for 20 years.

Wolff and Vasseur also have a close bond and have been known to travel to grand prix weekends together.

“I’ve got great respect for Fred, not only as a racing manager but also as a long-time friend,” Wolff said.

“When he took the role at Ferrari it was clear that he needed to do the best he can for Ferrari and use the opportunity in order to do that.

“There is no bad feeling towards Fred and trying to get the best employees, the best drivers, so that has no effect on the relationship.

“It is a tough competition, it is a cutthroat environment and as much as I try to do the best for our group, he will do that for Ferrari.”

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