Toto Wolff has shared how the business side of the Mercedes F1 team will cope after Lewis Hamilton leaves.
As well as six of his seven F1 championships, and more grand prix wins than any driver ever, Hamilton brought financial gain to Mercedes through his fame and his personal brand.
Mercedes are losing the best-ever F1 driver but also one of the most lucrative.
Team principal and part-owner Wolff was asked by CNBC if Mercedes would be impacted by the potential loss of sponsorships and merchandise sales when Hamilton goes to Ferrari.
“Absolutely, Lewis stands for much more than just a racing driver,” Wolff said.
“And he's a global phenomenon.
“And it's clear that at first sight, when you look at it, you're going to miss a bit after 24. You're going to miss that part.
“But the Formula One team like Mercedes, we need to have our own identity and we always will have in the future.
“We hope to be part of the career of many young drivers and successful drivers going forward.
“And we will look back with a warm heart of how fantastic that journey was, and how we've grown together.”
What is Wolff currently telling Mercedes’ big-money brand partners?
“I think Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes is basically the same story because we've been together for 12 years,” he said.
“But the team – we continue to be the same shareholders, I continue to run it.
“We have a very exciting... George Russell was basically going toe to toe with Lewis last year.
“So you know, you just got to adapt. Our sport is about adaptability, like in any other business, and that's something that's the lessons that I’ve tried to pass over when talking about high performance and management under pressure.”
Wolff, who teaches at Harvard business school, will find his own management credentials tested this year - the last of his team’s partnership with Hamilton.
“I think it's important to remember that we’re the Mercedes Formula One team,” he insisted.
“We've had a sensational spell that has not been done before with Lewis, more than 10 years, we've won more championships and more races than anybody, anybody else.
“And now it's about to identify what's going to be the next step beyond 2024.
“What is the dream lineup that we can put together in order to continue the success into a new generation of drivers and for the next 10 years to come?
“And as a part of the team, that is my perspective, I want to look back in five and 10 years and say, things came to a natural end and going forward into the right decisions and the team performed well and eventually this is all what matters.
“We got to just be in a position to win races and fight for championship and that's 100% what we have.”
While Mercedes’ might be a low ebb, the overall business of Formula One - purchased in 2017 by US-based Liberty Media - will enjoy the drama of Hamilton’s move to Ferrari.
“Yeah, Formula One is much more than just the on track action and the sport,” Wolff said.
“We're also a 12 month reality show basically.
“Entertainment follows sport, though, and I've had a chat yesterday with Greg Maffei from Liberty and he said that actually fantastic content here in the offseason, to provide so much drama and change.
“And Formula One is always good for surprises. It's the core, the essence of what we do and on track and off track.”