Toto Wolff refutes any notion that Hamilton’s departure is linked to dissatisfaction with Mercedes’ planned 2024 car, the W15.
Mercedes F1 Team Principal Toto Wolff has denied that Lewis Hamilton’s decision to move to Ferrari next year is linked to any dissatisfaction with the team’s 2024 Formula 1 car or early reports on its expected performance.
Mercedes had dominated F1 with the switch to hybrid engines in 2014, but since the introduction of ground effect in 2022, Brackley’s engineers have been outpaced by Ferrari and, notably, Red Bull.
Hamilton had internally expressed his discontent with the continuation of the zero-sidepod concept for 2023. The philosophy finally changes for the W15, but simulator data might have been the triggering factor for his upcoming departure in a year.
“I saw this speculation on Thursday, before our joint announcements. But the reality is that Lewis only tested the W15 in the simulator this Friday, after making his decision.”
Wolff also denied that the two teams’ prospects under the all-new 2026 technical regulations were a factor.
“We did not discuss whether the opportunities were better there at Ferrari or with us because I don’t think you can say that.”
Finally, Wolff believes that a driver’s contribution should not be overstated.
“The car is developed within the team with a lot of science and a lot of data, and the driver gives us feedback on what he feels in the car, which is then analyzed.”
“We then decide if it’s the right direction or not. We must neither underestimate nor overestimate the driver’s input in the development of a car.”
Mercedes W15 Hamilton 2024. Mercedes W15 Hamilton 2024
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