Helmut Marko lands savage Ferrari dig at Toto Wolff after Lewis Hamilton’s exit

Michelle Foster
Helmut Marko and Toto Wolff

Helmut Marko lands 'Ferrari' dig at Toto Wolff

As Mercedes reel from the news Lewis Hamilton is leaving to join Ferrari, Helmut Marko has fired at Toto Wolff after the Austrian insisted last season nothing would come between him and his driver.

Last year as Hamilton debated his future, both the driver and his team boss were adamant it was just a matter of time and finessing the finer points.

The negotiations, however, dragged through to August which was unexpected given Wolff said before the very first race of the season that a deal was on the cards.

Losing Lewis Hamilton will “weaken” Mercedes, but will it strengthen Ferrari?

In the end, a deal was announced, a new two-year contract, with Wolff saying it was “always a formality that we would continue” with Hamilton.

But six months later that mere formality is no longer as Hamilton informed Wolff he was exercising his option to leave after one year of the two-year deal, and he’d instead race for Ferrari in 2025.

Marko couldn’t resist, he really, really couldn’t.

Speaking to OE24, it was put to the Red Bull motorsport boss that ‘Wolff said not long ago that he was so close to Hamilton that no piece of paper would fit between the two.’

He savagely replied: “… but a Ferrari contract would!”

And it’s a contract that he feels will “weaken” Mercedes.

“I see it as weakening Mercedes,” he said. “Whether it strengthens Ferrari remains to be seen.

“Overall, this has an incredible impact, right down to the stock market prices. It’s great that something is happening.”

But for Red Bull, Formula 1 as a whole, and Netflix it’s also great that Hamilton has to see out an entire season with Mercedes before swapping to Maranello red.

“That’s true,” Marko said. “Normally, in a situation like this, your mind is already more focused on the new team.

“The current team cannot let him take part in any serious innovations because he would of course take them with him.

“The whole thing is excellent for sports, better than Netflix.”

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He, however, admits that like many in the F1 paddock, he didn’t see this one coming.

“That completely surprised me too, a sporting sensation – especially the timing,” he said.

And it has Marko wondering what, if anything, Hamilton say at Mercedes that didn’t sit well with him.

“One wonders how this came about,” he continued.

“Mercedes was overtaken by Ferrari in the second half of 2023, and McLaren was also faster. Maybe Hamilton noticed something that the outside world doesn’t yet know.”

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