The main question on everyone’s mind after Lewis Hamilton’s confirmed shock switch to Ferrari is whether Bono will follow him to Maranello…
In what is perhaps the biggest driver move in the history of Formula 1, Lewis Hamilton will cut ties with the Mercedes team with whom he’s won six of his seven titles, in order to join Ferrari from 2025.
Throughout the entirety of his Mercedes tenure, Hamilton has been ably supported by race engineer Pete Bonnington – the engineer becoming almost as famous as Hamilton as ‘Bono’ and his instruction ‘OK Lewis, it’s Hammertime’ would strike fear into the hearts of rivals.
Will Bono ditch Mercedes for Ferrari as well?
Given how close the relationship between Hamilton and Bonnington is, with the driver and engineer’s synergy spanning over a decade, the big question about his future is whether or not he’ll plump to follow his driver across to Maranello or remain with Mercedes.
Other examples of engineers following drivers include Mark Slade rejoining Kimi Raikkonen at Lotus long after their McLaren stint, and Rob Smedley following Felipe Massa to Williams after splitting with Ferrari.
Addressing the media, including PlanetF1.com, on Friday morning after the announcement of Hamilton at Ferrari, Wolff said discussions with Bonnington about his future will be held in due course.
“I think this is a discussion that everyone needs to have in the months to come,” he said.
“As much as I’ve spoken with Bono already, when I told him, he said ‘Is it April the first?’
“That’s something which we will discuss in the future in the next couple [of months].”
How Toto Wolff reacted to Lewis Hamilton’s Ferrari bombshell?
With Wolff and Hamilton also having a close personal friendship borne out from their years working together successfully, the Austrian explained how his mind had immediately shifted into Mercedes mode when Hamilton told him about the move to Ferrari.
“When he told me first, my next thought was pragmatic – what does it mean?” he said.
“When are we communicating this? What are the pressure points? How are we managing the season going forward? And what is it we are going to do in terms of driver lineup?
“So the Mercedes mind, the team’s mind, kicked in.
“Now, having slept a few nights on it, it means that our professional journey comes to an end working together, but it doesn’t mean that our personal relationship ends.
“I’ve found a friend, we’ve built a relationship over the last 10 years, and he faced a very, very difficult situation taking a decision of where to drive, maybe for the first time in 10 years without being able to brainstorm with me!
“Therefore, I will always respect the difficulty of the situation that he faced and, in the future, we will discuss whether this could have been done in a different way or not, but I hold no grudge.”