Wolff says “the drive would have been clear” if Hamilton had left Mercedes F1 for Red Bull instead of Ferrari in the short-term 

Photo Credit: Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team
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Toto Wolff has shared insights into Lewis Hamilton’s decision to move from Mercedes to Ferrari at the end of the 2024 season, offering a perspective on the potential reasons behind this significant switch.

Reflecting on the finite nature of a Formula 1 career, Wolff acknowledges Hamilton’s age as a factor to try a new challenge before he retires from the sport.

“The driver only has a limited time in Formula 1, and Lewis is now 39,” he stated, understanding Hamilton’s desire to “fulfil a dream” in what he describes as his later years in racing.

Photo Credit: Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team

Wolff speculates that Hamilton’s move is driven by a quest for novelty, imagining him wanting to experience racing “in a red overall.” He questions, however, whether Ferrari offers better chances for success than Mercedes, noting the close competition between the two teams in 2023, with Mercedes edging out Ferrari in the world championship standings.

“The drive would have been clear, this is the best package in the short-term,” Wolff said if Hamilton had chosen Red Bull instead, referencing their dominant performance in the 2023 season as they won 21 of the 22 races. This highlights Wolff’s view on the strategic considerations behind Hamilton’s decision.

Despite Mercedes’ struggle to secure a win since the end of 2022 with George Russell at the 2022 São Paulo Grand Prix, Wolff emphasises the team’s relentless spirit and ambition to improve. “The mentality is: if we fall, we get up,” he firmly states, highlighting the team’s internal drive and commitment to excellence.

Without Hamilton beyond 2024, the Austrian is convinced Mercedes will continue to have success.

“We will look back on these twelve years [together with Hamilton] and say: That is actually unbelievable. We won eight team championships and he won six driver championships. That remains.”

The goal for the future is to get back to winning titles on a regular basis, “and that will either be with him [Hamilton] this year or with other drivers in the future,” Wolff concluded.