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Toto Wolff Unveils Hamilton’s Ferrari Move Clue

22/02/2024

Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff has disclosed that a delayed response from Fred Vasseur hinted at Lewis Hamilton’s departure to Ferrari next season. Wolff acknowledged that the news wasn’t surprising and confirmed that his relationship with Hamilton remains strong.

“It was quite surprising,” Wolff admits. “We went on holiday thinking he would stay, despite the ‘1+1’ contract allowing him to leave. It was unexpected, but that’s how things unfolded.”

“It’s definitely a new situation, something we hadn’t anticipated at this stage of the season, and it introduces a new dynamic that we need to address.”

“However, we’ve spent time together, both at the factory and during various events, and everything is fine on a personal and professional level. We have a full season ahead.”

“We aim to have the most competitive car, giving both drivers the chance to achieve the best possible results. It would be great to conclude Lewis’s tenure beautifully this year. We’ve had wonderful moments, and with 10 months left, we’re focused on that.”

Vasseur’s delayed tactics

Wolff revealed he began to sense something was amiss when Vasseur didn’t respond to a message until the announcement was made. When asked if Vasseur had handled their phone call well, he laughed it off, fully understanding his counterpart’s position.

“No, he didn’t handle it well! We’ve been friends for a long time and, in the same way, we know we’re competitors on the track. It’s a balancing act that’s not always easy because we have a duty to do our best for our team.”

“And that’s what Fred did in this situation. I understand the reasoning. Obviously, it’s not easy, in such a good relationship, to know how to handle this, but it has no impact on my relationship with Fred.”

“When I sent Fred a WhatsApp message two days earlier, he didn’t reply, so I guess I knew. But then, no, Fred didn’t tell me anything, Lewis wanted to tell me first.”

No concerns for the 2024 season

Max Verstappen suggested that both teams were forced into a premature announcement and predicted the situation could be challenging for Hamilton and Mercedes with 24 races ahead in this context.

While Wolff admits that the Dutchman might have been right initially, he believes the matter is now settled, and Mercedes is fully focused on the upcoming campaign: “The team’s morale and the dynamic we have this year have been great over the winter.”

“We spend a lot of time introspecting and asking ourselves how we can improve. What we see is an organization that is buzzing and eager to fight and develop a faster car while staying true to our mindset and values. And that’s what we aim to achieve this year.”

“At first, it might have been difficult to see how we would proceed for the rest of the season. But now, everything has fallen into place, and it’s just a matter of focusing on the moment and the next race.”

Mercedes is in no rush to announce the second driver for 2025: “There are many excellent drivers already on the grid and available, so it won’t be something we decide soon. It will be around May, after the first few races.”

Hamilton Ferrari Move Wolff. Hamilton Ferrari Move Wolff

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