Toto Wolff says it is “onwards and upwards” in his New Year message for Mercedes – one that had no mention of Lewis Hamilton.
The Mercedes social media team clearly wanted to sign off 2021 with the final word from the boss, which arrived in the form of an 18-second video clip.
Wearing a smart jacket and trademark white shirt – he could have been trying on his December 31st evening outfit, for that matter – Wolff reflected on a year in which Mercedes made it eight consecutive Constructors’ World Championship successes.
The Boss wanted to share one last message to the Mercedes family before 2021 becomes '22! 😉 pic.twitter.com/vH5AQpPtMX
— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) December 30, 2021
It was the toughest Formula 1 season the team have experienced in the turbo hybrid era as they faced a huge challenge to their supremacy from Red Bull, which resulted in Hamilton relinquishing his Drivers’ title to Max Verstappen in controversial circumstances on the last lap of the final race in Abu Dhabi.
Apart from a brief interview in parc ferme after that grand prix, Hamilton has made no public comments on either mainstream or social media since – while Mercedes opted not to press ahead with an appeal against the result.
The 36-year-old Briton’s silence has given rise to speculation he might retire and not team up with new colleague George Russell for the 2022 season, the younger Briton having been brought in to replace Valtteri Bottas.
Hamilton’s brother Nicolas, however, has indicated the seven-time former World Champion is merely taking a break from social media.
Nevertheless, no drivers were mentioned by Wolff in his New Year message to the Mercedes fans.
“Hi everyone, so this is a wrap,” began the Austrian team principal. “2021 is finished, there were some highs, there were some lows, some glory and some drama. But in the end, this is how it feels to be alive.
“So I wish you a wonderful New Year’s Eve and a happy 2022. Onwards and upwards.”
Clearly, Wolff was not of a mind to reflect further on the highs, lows, glory and drama to which he referred in the video and which had made for one of the most remarkable Formula 1 seasons in history.
Wolff, who will turn 50 on January 12 – five days after Hamilton’s 37th birthday – must be hoping not only that Mercedes can master the new regulations for the 2022 campaign but also that the FIA make good on their promise to learn lessons from the deeply unsatisfactory events of Abu Dhabi.
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