Toto Wolff makes categorical claim on Lewis Hamilton’s ability as F1 wins dry up

Michelle Foster
Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff with his 2023 drivers, Lewis Hamilton and George Russell.

Toto Wolff is on the hunt for a new team-mate for George Russell for 2025.

Despite Lewis Hamilton failing to win a Grand Prix this season, extending his winless run to 45 races, Toto Wolff has “no doubt” he can become an eight-time World Champion.

But that will be down to Mercedes to provide him with a car capable of doing so.

The team has failed to do that the last two seasons, admitting they made mistakes with their ground-effect aerodynamic cars.

Toto Wolff has ‘no doubt’ Lewis Hamilton can win No.8

Additional reporting by Thomas Maher

As such the team will put an all-new car on the grid next season.

Mercedes are “changing the concept” from chassis to weight distribution to airflow, they won’t carry anything over from the ill-fated W14.

But could that see Hamilton fight for an eighth World title in what could be his final two seasons on the grid?

The Briton was discouraged after the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix where he finished down in ninth place, 44 seconds behind Max Verstappen who won the race by 17s ahead of Charles Leclerc.

Asked if Mercedes could challenge Red Bull next season, he replied: “I don’t really know. For Red Bull to win by 17 seconds in the end, and they haven’t developed their car since August is definitely a concern.”

His team boss is a bit more optimistic as he reckons not only will Hamilton win more Grands Prix, he can still fight for that record-breaking eighth.

It, however, will depend on Mercedes giving him a better car than they have the last two seasons.

“From Lewis’ perspective, he had a bad weekend. Fact,” Wolff told the media including PlanetF1.com. “And I think that doesn’t do anything on him being the greatest driver in the world.

“If we are able to give him a car then he will be fighting for a World Championship. I have no doubt.

“It’s clear that when you have an F1 car like we have now, you are never at ease with it. And you have good weekends and bad weekends.

“But at the end, every time when we’ve seen that Lewis has somebody in his target in front of him. and it was about winning the race, then the real Lewis comes alive.

“And I think we just need to give him a car.”

PlanetF1.com recommends

The other eight F1 cars that have given Lewis Hamilton trouble

F1 points all-time rankings: Where do Hamilton, Verstappen and Alonso feature?

Toto Wolff: It’s all about perspective

The team boss has experienced highs and lows during his time at the helm of Mercedes with the Brackley squad winning seven successive Drivers’ titles and eight Constructors’.

Wolff concedes if one looks at that, as he does as it’s on display at the Brackley factory, it makes for good reading.

However, looking at the final details of this year’s championship where Max Verstappen won 19 of 22 races, and Red Bull 21 in total, that’s just “not good enough”.

“We have a board in our factory, which shows all the Constructors’ World Championships since 1958. And the table goes on ’til 2050. And you have the logos, the badges for each of the years.

“And there is 27 open empty pages. And I would like to look back 20 years and say, there’s many more Mercedes’ stars.

“And when you in retrospective, and I hate retrospective views, but when we look back in 10 or 20 years, and we consider that the big, big decade, it was second, first, first, first, first, first, first, first, first, third, second.

“When you look at it from that perspective, you kind of say that was okay. Now, from a micro view, there’s one guy that 19 races so that is of course not good enough.”

Read next: McLaren left standing in F1’s game of power unit musical chairs