Key Toto Wolff lieutenant ‘evaluating options’ with chance to follow Lewis Hamilton to Ferrari

Jamie Woodhouse
Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff with a stern look on the pit wall.

Toto Wolff with a stern look.

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff said Jérôme d’Ambrosio is “evaluating the options” as he refrained from shutting down the suggestion that he could follow Lewis Hamilton to Ferrari.

The latest F1 ‘silly season’ got underway before a wheel had even been turned thanks to the shock announcement that Mercedes’ seven-time World Champion Hamilton would become a Ferrari driver as of 2025.

Could Jérôme d’Ambrosio, like Lewis Hamilton, jump to Ferrari?

Having won six World Championship titles with Mercedes since joining in 2013, Hamilton has become an integral figure at the team and now that his future is at Ferrari, it has sparked speculation over whether other Mercedes names could also make the switch.

Mercedes has previously told that Hamilton has a “no-poaching” clause in his contract, which will prevent the British driver from snaffling key members of the Mercedes team to join him when he joins Ferrari.

One member of Mercedes staff who could be joining Ferrari in the not-too-distant future is Jerome d’Ambrosio, Mercedes’ driver development director – although Hamilton’s switch to Ferrari has had no bearing on this potential move.

Last season, d’Ambrosio was selected by team boss Toto Wolff to help deputise for him at Grands Prix where Wolff is not physically in attendance, with the Austrian saying the former Venturi Formula E team boss had “the right profile” to take on those responsibilities.

While Wolff’s on-site responsibilities would be delegated amongst multiple senior staff, including d’Ambrosio, he rarely misses any races – he sat out the 2023 Japanese and Qatar Grands Prix, but was still fully involved in the team’s operations on those weekends.

d’Ambrosio remains under contract with Mercedes until, at least, the end of 2024, but has been linked with a move to Ferrari – potentially to replace Jock Clear as the head of the Ferrari Driver Academy.

This speculation pre-dates Hamilton’s switch to Ferrari, with d’Ambrosio’s purported decision to leave for Maranello being made completely independently of Hamilton’s career change.

Wolff was quizzed on d’Ambrosio’s future by media at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, where Wolff confirmed that due to “personal reasons”, d’Ambrosio is “evaluating the options”.

“I think he’s with us at the moment and the situation is more personal reasons that he’s evaluating the options of what to do and I think it’s something he should speak about,” said Wolff.

“But all is good, all is good, we’ll see what happens.” recommends

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While d’Ambrosio is a fairly new name on the Mercedes scene, having only joined in 2023, the once-dominant Silver Arrows have suffered the loss of several key and long-standing individuals over recent years, which has been speculated as a major contributor to their fall away from the top spot.

Design guru Aldo Costa, engine boss Andy Cowell, chief strategist James Vowles and chief technical officer Mike Elliott are among the departures, though Wolff stressed that he has acquired a “different confidence” that Mercedes can become Formula 1’s best again, with Red Bull and Max Verstappen now dominating proceedings.

“It’s a different confidence that I have in the group this time around,” said Wolff, “because at a certain stage, you’re basically ticking all the boxes of the unknown.

“It’s just my feeling that we will come on top.

“Is this good enough to beat a Max in a Red Bull? No, it’s not. But at least bringing ourselves back in a position of fighting for podiums and being right there, yeah, 100 per cent sure we’re going to get there.”

It has not been the smoothest of starts to F1 2024 for Mercedes though, George Russell’s P5 in Bahrain their best result to show for the opening two rounds of the season.

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