From borrowed shoes to avo poisoning, the Mercedes launch had a bit of everything

Michelle Foster

From borrowing Lewis Hamilton’s shoes to talk of “avocado poisoning”, Toto Wolff was on hand as Mercedes introduced the W14 and welcomed Mick Schumacher to the fold in Wednesday’s online presentation.

Going down the route of the virtual launch, which is becoming ever more popular with the teams, Mercedes did things a little different on Wednesday as they gave fans a peak at their preparations.

That included Wolff borrowing, although it would seem without permission, Hamilton’s shoes.

Chatting backstage as they awaited the start of the presentation, Hamilton commented on Wolff’s footwear.

“Oooh, nice new shoes,” he said with Wolff responding: “You know who these shoes are from.”

The Briton, though, didn’t and asked his team boss, who replied: “They forgot my shoes for the photoshoot so I liked them, they were under your rack.”

Hamilton took it in stride, “it’s a better look than the loafers.”

Onto the presentation, the Mercedes motorsport boss welcomed Schumacher to the team, the German having signed as the reserve driver for the 2023 season.

“I think Mick is such a great part of the team,” said Wolff, “because we have a driver who has actually been in the car the last couple of years, who knows the tyres, knows the in-and-outs of last year’s regulations.

“Being able to have two eyes out there on the track looking at those cars and feeding it back in is super valuable apart from the sim work.”

He added: “I hope these guys [Hamilton and George Russell] don’t have fish poisoning but in any case he deserves to be in the car.”

Hamilton was quick to rule himself out of the possibility of handing Schumacher his car, “I don’t eat fish,” said the vegan.

Wolff replied: “Avocado poisoning.”

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But stolen shoes and the avo memes aside, Wolff hopes this year’s W14 is an improvement on last year’s edition.

He, however, concedes they don’t yet know.

“We’ve seen the car and we are contemplating is she fast or not, have we cured the problems we had on track and that is a big unknown,” he said.

“But we are much more positive. There is excitement.

“I think we have the tools to understand, to grow and develop the car, and hopefully give George and Lewis something that works.”