Toto Wolff has rubbished suggestions that Lewis Hamilton chose to leave Mercedes because of concerns over the performance of the team’s new car. He knows that for sure, because the Briton hadn’t even driven the W15 in the simulator before he informed Wolff of his decision to join Ferrari.
That conversation took place last Wednesday, before the news became public the following day. It was only on the Friday, after the impending move has been confirmed, that Hamilton got into the sim to drive the virtual version of his new Mercedes race car.
So concerns over its performance cannot have been the driver of his decision to begin anew elsewhere. “The car is being developed in the team with a lot of science and a lot of data,” said Wolff. “The driver gives us guidance of what he feels in the car and this is being dissected.
This is then decided on whether it happens or not. “I feel incredibly fortunate, after achieving things with Mercedes that I could only have dreamed of as a kid, that I now have the chance to fulfil another childhood dream. Driving in Ferrari red.
Mercedes has been a huge part of my life since I was 13 years old, so this decision has been the hardest I’ve ever had to make. “But the time is right to make a change and take on a new challenge. I still remember the feeling of taking a leap of faith into the unknown when I first joined Mercedes in 2013.
I know some people didn’t understand it at the time but I was right to make the move then and it’s the feeling I have again now. “I’m excited to see what I can bring to this new opportunity and what we can do together. However, right now, I’m not thinking about 2025.
My focus is on the upcoming season and getting back out on track with Mercedes. I am more driven than ever, I am fitter and more focussed than than ever and I want to help Mercedes win once again.”