Toto Wolff tips Lewis Hamilton to ‘reinvent himself’ for ‘second or third career’

Jon Wilde
Lewis Hamilton pointing next to Toto Wolff. Paul Ricard July 2022.

Lewis Hamilton pointing at a screen next to Toto Wolff in the Mercedes garage. Paul Ricard July 2022.

Toto Wolff believes Lewis Hamilton has “a few good years left in him” – and predicts he will “reinvent himself” to achieve further success after retiring from racing.

Hamilton is nearing the end of his 16th Formula 1 season and 10th with Wolff’s Mercedes team, with whom he has won six of his seven Drivers’ World Championships.

The 37-year-old Briton has one more year to run on his current Mercedes contract but has recently spoken about plans to extend it, while he has also suggested he could race on for another five years.

Wolff, Mercedes F1 co-owner and team principal, discussed Hamilton’s future during the ‘Performance People’ podcast, which featured the Austrian alongside wife and former Venturi Formula E team principal Susie, talking with hosts Sir Ben Ainslie and his wife Georgie, formerly a Sky Sports presenter.

Joking that Hamilton could even remain on the Formula 1 grid for a further decade, Wolff expects his driver to continue shining in whichever sphere he tackles next – with the 103-time grand prix winner having recently announced the launch of a new film and TV production company.

Toto and Susie Wolff on Performance People podcast

“Lewis is totally mature and conscious about where he stands in his career,” said Wolff.

“He’s not being led by his emotions, like I’ve seen with sportspeople that think it can go on forever and trying to hang on to it.

“Lewis is rational and intelligent about it. He says ‘I know I have a shelf life as a racing driver’. Lewis knows that one day he will not be the best himself anymore. That hasn’t happened yet.

“But we’ve been talking about it. He said ‘I’d love to continue…do you think we can do another five to 10 years?’ But this is more jokingly.

“I think he has a few good years left in him and he will be the first one to say ‘I don’t think I can compete against a 24-year-old that is as good as I was or even close to how I was’ and that is simply how it goes.

“I have no doubt Lewis Hamilton is not only the greatest racing driver, with Michael [Schumacher] in a way, but he will also be successful in his own way, in a second or third career and reinventing himself.”

Wolff also said his relationship with Hamilton may not be seen from outside as being typical of that between a driver and team principal.

“We’ve grown very close together over the last eight years,” added the 50-year-old.

“Grow is the right terminology because we’ve gone through difficult phases as well, and my learning was that I just need to try to provide the best possible framework for him in order to perform, and that might be also different than other people would perceive a relationship should be between the team boss and his driver.

“He’s really very intelligent and also socially intelligent. I’ve obviously dealt with him on our agreements three or four times now – and I have a real good sparring partner.”

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