Toto Wolff breaks silence on Ferrari relationship after Lewis Hamilton poaching

Lewis Hamilton will become a Ferrari driver in 2025, while Mercedes are yet to announce his replacement.

Mercedes Team Principal, Toto Wolff, has shared an update on his relationship with Ferrari’s Frederic Vasseur in light of the surprising news of Lewis Hamilton’s impending move to the Scuderia in Formula 1, scheduled for the end of 2024.

The announcement of Hamilton’s transition from Mercedes to Ferrari took Wolff by surprise.

He learned of Hamilton’s intentions over a casual coffee meeting at his Oxfordshire residence, marking the end of their collaborative journey that spanned almost 11 years, commencing in 2013.

On the other hand, Vasseur’s association with Hamilton dates back even further.

READ: Martin Brundle warns Ferrari about signing Lewis Hamilton

He worked alongside the British racing superstar during his junior formula career at the ART team, nurturing their connection through Formula 3 and GP2, now known as F2.

Amid speculation about whether this shift in alliances might strain the relationship between Wolff and Vasseur, Wolff was quick to address the issue, stating, “I have great respect for Fred, not only as a racing manager but also as a long-time friend.

“When he assumed the role at Ferrari, it was evident that he needed to prioritize the best interests of Ferrari and make the most of every opportunity to achieve that.

“So, there are no hard feelings towards Fred’s pursuit of top employees and drivers.”

Article continues below

He emphasized that this transition wouldn’t negatively affect their personal rapport, acknowledging the fierce competition and demanding environment that characterizes Formula 1. “It is a tough competition, a cut-throat environment.

As much as I strive to do what’s best for our team, he will do the same for Ferrari,” Wolff added.

Wolff further shed light on his rapport with Vasseur, describing it as “respectful” and affirming that they have been in frequent contact, coordinating their communications regularly.

He likened their relationship to that of rugby players who might clash on the field but maintain respect off it.

As for Lewis Hamilton’s surprise decision to leave Mercedes, Wolff noted that the timing was unexpected for their team as well.

He speculated that Hamilton’s intention might have been to provide Mercedes ample time to consider their options for the upcoming season.

READ: George Russell’s comments come back to bite

Wolff expressed confidence that Vasseur would be able to establish a solid working relationship with Hamilton in his new role as his boss.

After all, they have known each other for over two decades, and Hamilton’s previous experiences with ART have created a deep understanding of racing drivers’ minds.

Wolff acknowledged that Vasseur’s approach might differ from his but highlighted their shared success, evident in Vasseur’s impressive track record.