Toto Wolff responds to Lewis Hamilton accusation, denies contract is at risk

Mercedes were unable to even compete for a podium during the first race of the 2023 season.

Coming into the 2023 season, Mercedes were expected to be completely different to how they were last season, having only won a single race in 2022.

Bizarrely, the Silver Arrows arrived in Bahrain with a W14 design that resembled the W13 a lot, with the zero sidepod approach being continued despite last year’s struggles.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has now admitted that continuing this approach was the wrong decision, with Mercedes now set to embark on a completely different development path after falling behind Aston Martin in terms of car performance.

Lewis Hamilton has suggested that his team should have listened to him last season, as he told Mercedes that there were issues with the car related to its design.

READ: Lewis Hamilton braced for another winless year as Mercedes to switch focus to 2024

“Last year, there were things I told them, I said the issues that are with the car,” the Brit told BBC Sport.

“I’ve driven so many cars in my life, so I know what a car needs, I know what a car doesn’t need and I think it’s really about accountability.

“It’s about owning up and saying, ‘yeah, you know what? We didn’t listen to you. It’s not where it used to be and we’ve got to work’.”

Hamilton was set to negotiate a new multi-year contract with Mercedes over the summer but nothing has been signed yet, despite the 2023 season being underway.

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Rumours have suggested that the Brit may be waiting to see how competitive Mercedes end up this year before deciding his future, a claim which Toto Wolff has firmly denied.

“The Lewis situation is you heard him on the radio. He is an integral part of the team, picking the team up and we are all sticking together and I don’t think that is going to change just because we had a start that was really bad,” explained the Austrian.

READ: Mercedes bring back James Allison after woeful start to 2023

“We have won eight constructors’ championships and six drivers’ championships with him and that relationship holds.

“As much as being transparent as to how we need to turn the car around, it is not the point to talk about the driver situation in 2024.”

Hamilton has also recently hit back at claims that he could leave Mercedes at the end of the season, telling reporters that he will be with the Silver Arrows next year no matter what.