Mercedes boss, Toto Wolff, refused to disclose the future of Lewis Hamilton’s race engineer at the team as many people wonder whether Peter Bonnington will join the 39-year-old at Ferrari after his bombshell decision to join them in 2025.
Bonnington, affectionately dubbed “Bono”, has been working with Hamilton since he replaced Michael Schumacher at the team when he left McLaren to join Mercedes back in 2013 in what was a bombshell decision back then too and Wolff didn’t rule out a possible departure.
“I think this is a discussion which everyone needs to have in the months to come,” Wolff said to media. “And as much as I’ve spoken with Bono already, when I told him [Hamilton was leaving] he said, ‘Is it April the first?’”
The senior race engineer is known for his calm, informed voice and his signature, “It’s hammer time” quote, denoting when his driver can go as fast as he sees fit before he has to come into the pit stops, throwing tyre management out of the window.
And since they partnered up, he has helped guide the British racer to six world championships, 82 wins and 78 pole positions as he cemented his status as the most successful driver of all-time statistically, surpassing Schumacher in 2020.
Ferrari is a big life decision to make
But, despite the dynamic duo’s glory, it is a big life decision to move to Ferrari as the team requires a relocation to Italy. For Bono, he would need to leave his home local to Brackley, Northamptonshire, and although it’s unclear what his family status is, it could disrupt the lives of any of his children.
This is something that Adrian Newey has alluded to in the past. Even though the draw of the Prancing Horse is something many in Formula 1 wish to experience, it isn’t always more important than family and thus people reject the chances.
“I was very tempted to go there in the past, it is a legendary brand,” Newey told Sky Sports Italia. “They contacted me in 1993, I think, and then in 1997, when I went to McLaren from Williams.
“And that was a very difficult choice. At the time my children were very young, and I didn’t want them to change schools. Honestly, if I was 20 years younger…”
No hard feelings towards Vasseur
F1 is often described as a cutthroat sport where people will do whatever they can to get ahead of a rival by illegally obtaining their technical data, appealing to the FIA to change the regulations or, maybe even, stealing their lead driver…
Yet despite the coup by Frederic Vasseur, ironically one of the Austrian’s friends, by acquiring Hamilton for Ferrari, Wolff doesn’t have any hard feelings and understands that it’s all a part of the game.
“I have great respect for Fred [Vasseur], not only as a racing manager, but also as a longtime friend,” Wolff added. “On the relationship. It is a tough competition, a cutthroat environment and as much as I try to do the best for our group, he will do that for Ferrari.
“It’s a little bit like rugby. We punch each other in the nose, but we are able to get off the pitch and have a respectful relationship.”