Toto Wolff sidesteps question on whether Lewis Hamilton should’ve waited for W15

Michelle Foster
Toto Wolff speaking to Ted Kravitz in the paddock.

Toto Wolff was asked if Lewis Hamilton rushed his Ferrari decision.

Toto Wolff wouldn’t say if he’d preferred Lewis Hamilton had trialled the W15 before deciding to join Ferrari, but “if you have set your mind and you are sailing, that’s okay”.

Hamilton dominated the news cycle at the beginning of the year when the Briton sensationally, and unexpectedly, announced he’d be joining Ferrari at the end of the year.

The news even came as a surprise to his team boss Wolff.

‘If you have set your mind and you are sailing, that’s okay’

Although he’d heard a few rumours in the build-up to his pre-season breakfast meeting with Hamilton, it was only as they sat down in his house in Oxford that he learned his driver would be leaving.

Hamilton exercised his option to leave one year into his latest two-year contract, the Briton making the decision even before the first race of the season.

In fact, it was made even before he completed his first laps in the all-new W15.

Wolff was asked by F1 pit lane reporter Ted Kravitz if he wished the driver had waited to at least try the car first.

“I think he’s taken his decision over the winter to join Ferrari and there’s benefits of keeping it to yourself and then deciding maybe at a later stage,” Wolff replied according to Crash.net.

“But then also if you have set your mind and you are sailing, that’s okay.”

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Speaking days after the announcement, Ferrari team boss Fred Vasseur said that while informing Carlos Sainz that his contract would not be renewed was not an easy phone call, the “most difficult was the one with Toto”, his long-time friend.

Wolff was asked about that during a team boss press conference in Bahrain while Vasseur sat along him.

“No, he didn’t do a good job,” the Austrian joked. We have been friends since a long time and in the same way, we are knowledge that we are competitors on tracks.

“And so that is a balancing act that is not always easy, because we have the duty and the obligation to perform to the best of our abilities for the interest of our team. And this is what Fred has done in that situation.

“I understand the rationale. Obviously, it’s not always easy in such a good relationship to know how to handle that, but it has no effects or no repercussion on the relationship that I will have with Fred.”

He revealed he knew something was up when Vasseur didn’t respond to his WhatsApp messages.

“When I sent Fred a WhatsApp two days before he didn’t reply, so I guess I knew,” Wolff added. “But then, no, Fred didn’t tell me, Lewis felt that he wanted to tell me first.”

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