Wolff explains change in relationship with Lewis Hamilton since Ferrari announcement

The 2024 campaign will mark the last of 12 F1 seasons Toto Wolff and Lewis Hamilton have worked together at Mercedes

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Toto Wolff believes his dynamic with Lewis Hamilton has changed after the seven-time champion announced his shock departure for Ferrari, but added they’ve overcome an ‘awkward’ start to continue a professional working relationship.

Wolff reportedly only found out about Hamilton‘s exit the day before it was made public, with figures at Ferrari including Charles Leclerc knowing the news for significantly longer.

Hamilton and Wolff have combined for 15 championships in 11 seasons at Mercedes and his contract was set to run until the end of 2025 but the team principal said they’ve been focussed on the year ahead.

“The morale of the team and dynamics we have had over the winter has been great,” Wolff told the media at pre-season testing in Bahrain.

“We spent a lot of time trying to introspect and say ‘where is it that we can do better’ and what we see is an organisation that is really buzzing and is keen to to fight and develop a car that’s quicker while sticking to our mindset and to our values.

“It may have been awkward at the beginning of ‘how are we doing this for the rest of the season?’ but now everything has fallen into place and it’s just a concentration of the moment and the next races to come.”

Wolff: New situation for Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton and Toto Wolff at 2023 Spanish Grand Prix | Mercedes F1 Team/Stephen Reuss

Hamilton sat out the first day of pre-season testing with Mercedes and Red Bull the only teams to give one driver a full first day, and George Russell duly ended the morning session sixth at 1.7 seconds behind leader Verstappen.

Mercedes were the sole team apart from Williams – who saw Alex Albon‘s running shortened by a reliability issue – to not complete a race distance by lunchtime, but 2023 testing saw Russell expecting Mercedes to enter the championship fight so it’s not always clear.

And Wolff insisted the Mercedes are fully focussed on producing the very best 2024 season that they can before waving Hamilton goodbye.

“I think when the news broke clearly it’s a new situation,” Wolff added. “It’s something that we didn’t anticipate happening at that stage of the season, it is a new dynamic and that’s clearly something we have to work on.

“But having said that we’ve been together, spent some time in the factory and at various events and it’s absolutely fine on a human level. And it’s also professional in professional terms.

“We have a full season to go, we want to have the best competitive car, those drivers given the opportunity to do the best possible drives and how great would it be to finish on a high with Lewis this year and we’ve had several wonderful times and 10 more months to go on and give it all.”

Adam Dickinson
Adam Dickinson
An international multi-award-winning journalist, Adam Dickinson has written for Total-Motorsport.com since June 2022 and also contributes to TNT Sports, Eurosport and the Rugby Paper. He's also had articles published in the Daily Telegraph and several local newspapers, and previously worked for Last-Lap.co.uk and FeederSeries.net in motorsport and graduated with a First-Class Journalism Degree from the University of Sheffield having also studied in Oklahoma. Adam started watching F1 by accident in 2007, catching the last race in Indianapolis, and attended his first race as a journalist at the 2023 British Grand Prix.
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