Toto Wolff is unlikely to have any serious complaints about Lewis Hamilton’s decision to swap Mercedes for Ferrari in 2025. The Austrian team principal confessed last Spring that he would hold ‘no grouch’ if the seven-time world champion looked elsewhere for machinery capable of winning him a record-breaking eighth World Championship.
Hamilton signed a two-year contract extension with the Silver Arrows last summer, but after watching his team struggling to catch up to back-to-back champions Red Bull during the latter stages of the season, the Brit opted to shock the motorsport world and commit to driving for Ferrari in 2025.
This possibility was alluded to by Wolff at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix last March. With Mercedes primed for another frustrating year following the underwhelming debut of the W14, he explained: “As a driver, nevertheless, if he wants to win another championship he needs to make sure he has the car.
“And if we cannot demonstrate that we are able to give him a car in the next couple of years then he needs to look everywhere. I don’t think he is doing it at that stage, but I will have no grouch if that happens in a year or two.”
Despite the two teams finishing just three points apart in the 2023 Constructors’ Championship, it was Ferrari who often looked the more likely to challenge Red Bull. The Italian outfit claimed seven pole positions to Mercedes’ one and ended the year with arguably the faster package.
After Hamilton put pen to paper on his Ferrari contract, Wolff stayed true to his word, issuing a classy statement in the wake of Hamilton’s big news. “Lewis will always be an important part of Mercedes motorsport history,” he said. “However, we knew our partnership would come to a natural end at some point, and that day has now come.
“We accept Lewis’s decision to seek a fresh challenge, and our opportunities for the future are exciting to contemplate. But for now, we still have one season to go, and we are focused on going racing to deliver a strong 2024.”
Hamilton will hope that he can end his winless streak before bringing his iconic partnership with Mercedes to a close. The 39-year-old claimed six World Championship titles during his time with the Brackley-based outfit but has been without a trip to the top step of the podium since the 2021 Saudi Arabian GP.