Toto Wolff Reveals How Lewis Hamilton Informed Him of Decision to Join Ferrari

“I said, ‘why at the beginning of the season?’ He said he just wanted to have it out and not have it as a burden, emotional burden."

by Sead Dedovic
Toto Wolff Reveals How Lewis Hamilton Informed Him of Decision to Join Ferrari
© Clive Mason / Getty Images Sport

Mercedes boss, Toto Wolff, spoke to the media about Lewis Hamilton's departure and the fact that he wasn't surprised after the Briton left the team. Hamilton decided to confirm before the start of this season that he was leaving Mercedes and that from next year he would be racing for Ferrari. Toto Wolff explained in the media how the whole process unfolded and the moment when Hamilton informed him of his decision. Wolff believes that Hamilton had difficult moments confirming his decision to him. The Mercedes boss wasn't particularly surprised by his decision, but the timing of his decision was surprising.

“I think it was difficult for him to really tell me because he left for the Christmas holiday and was Mercedes forever.

Normally that’s a time where we don’t speak a lot because he’s gone, because otherwise we’re speaking every day. And then he came back and said, can we have a coffee?

He came for the coffee, that’s the normal thing we’re doing when the season kicks off, and he said, ‘I’m leaving to Ferrari’. And I said, ‘really?’

And not that it shocked me, because we knew that we have a short-term contract, but the timing at the beginning of the season."- Toto Wolff said, as quoted by f1overtsteer

Although Wolff didn't want to emphasize that he felt disappointed and angry, in his sentences, it can be sensed that he wasn't indifferent, especially since Hamilton made such a decision right before the season. Wolff thought this news would remain a secret for a while, but the media immediately started with headlines stating that Hamilton was leaving Mercedes, and it was already too late for anything.

“I said, ‘why at the beginning of the season?’ He said he just wanted to have it out and not have it as a burden, emotional burden.

And then you got to stay pragmatic after five minutes shock and disbelief it was like, ‘okay what are we doing announcement, what are we doing going forward into the season?’

And he said, ‘well the announcement is a tricky thing because I think it’s leaking’, so it didn’t give me lots of options.”

Lewis Hamilton explains his decision to join Ferrari

Wolff is aware of how much Lewis Hamilton means to their team and what his departure will mean. However, on the other hand, Mercedes needs fresh blood and someone who will be motivated to achieve great success. Hamilton has made history with this team, and it's hard to expect that his level of motivation is the same as before. 

Furthermore, it's evident that the Briton didn't have confidence in Mercedes and their car, especially since for the past few seasons, they have failed to assert themselves as contenders for the top spot. This season seems even more disappointing for them.

It will be interesting to see what Hamilton can achieve next season at Ferrari, considering it's a team with history and tradition, which seems to be returning to the winning track. They started this season brilliantly, and the last race in Melbourne is proof that this team has indeed progressed. The imperative is to continue doing the same in the coming seasons, but this time with Hamilton as the team leader.

Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton© Clive Rose/Getty Images Sport

Ferrari's executives believe that it's time to finally show the world how capable their team is and to try to win the championship after many years.

Upon confirming that he had signed with Ferrari, the Briton emphasized that it wasn't an easy decision to join another team. Moreover, Hamilton considers it the toughest decision he has ever had to make. Being part of a team for so many years, creating numerous memories, and shaping history is a massive thing. 

However, at some point in everyone's career, it's important to do what you believe is best for yourself. Lewis confirmed that it's time for a new chapter in his career, expecting great things in 2025. 

Lewis Hamilton reflected on the history of this team, highlighting that he grew up watching Michael Schumacher and his dominance on the F1 tracks. Additionally, the Briton is thrilled with the fans of this team who have always been fanatics for this team, supporting stronger than anyone else.

The 39-year-old driver confirmed that he has a great relationship with Fred Vasseur since they worked together previously when Hamilton was part of Formula 3. From that moment until today, they have still been in touch, and it's very likely that Vasseur played an important role in convincing Hamilton to join Ferrari.

Toto Wolff Lewis Hamilton Ferrari