Toto Wolff throws down gauntlet with ‘picture our rear wing’ jibe to Lewis Hamilton

Michelle Foster
A split image of Lewis Hamilton looking shocked and Toto Wolff smiling

Lewis Hamilton will join Ferrari in 2025, leaving Mercedes boss Toto Wolff with a tough driver decision

Informing Toto Wolff that he’s off to Ferrari in 2025, the team boss told Lewis Hamilton to picture the Mercedes rear wing, because that will be his “perspective” next season.

Although Hamilton signed a two-year contract with Mercedes back in August last year, the Briton opted to activate an escape clause that allowed him to leave after just one year.

Toto Wolff: Hamilton/Ferrari leak didn’t ‘give me lots of options’

Deciding over F1’s Christmas break that he wanted a new challenge, the timeframe reads the decision, contact, negotiations, and signing all took place over a six-week period.

And after that, Wolff was informed with Hamilton telling his team boss about his move as the news began to leak.

“Not a lot,” Wolff told Fox Sports Australia when asked about the time difference between his sit-down with Hamilton and the announcements.

“I think it was difficult for him to really tell me because he left for the Christmas holiday and was Mercedes forever. Normally, that’s a time where we don’t speak a lot, because he’s gone because otherwise we’re speaking every day.

“And then he came back and said, ‘Can we have a coffee?’ He came for coffee, that’s a normal thing we’re doing when the season kicks off, and he said, ‘I’m moving to Ferrari’. And I said, ‘Really?’

“Not that it shocked me because we knew that we have a short-term contract, but the timing – at the beginning of the season. I said, ‘Why at the beginning of season?’ He said he just wanted to have it out and not have it as a burden.

“Then you’ve got to stay pragmatic. After that five-minute shock and disbelief it was like, ‘Okay, what are we doing announcement? What are we doing going forward into the season? ‘

“And he said, ‘Well, the announcement is a tricky thing, because I think it’s leaking’. It didn’t give me lots of options.” recommends

Follow’s WhatsApp channel for all the F1 breaking news!

Revealed: The remarkable 36-hour timeline behind Lewis Hamilton’s shock Ferrari move

Toto Wolff ‘can’t imagine’ Lewis Hamilton in red

With Hamilton joining Mercedes in 2013, the same year Wolff signed up, the two have been together for six of the Briton’s Drivers’ Championship titles and together won eight consecutive Constructors’ Championships from 2014 to 2021.

It begs the question, is Wolff ‘disappointed’ by Hamilton’s decision to leave Mercedes for Ferrari?

“No, not at all,” he insisted.

“I think sportspeople have a limited shelf life when they are at the peak of their performance, peak of their earning power, and that is maybe 10 to 15 years. They’ve got to do it and take that limited amount of time where you want to win as many races and as much as possible.

“And that’s why I understand that he says ‘I gotta go a different path, I need to reinvent myself.’

“I see the positives because our years were so great and we really have a strong bond. And in the same way, we are able to separate in wishing each other really all the best.

“Hopefully, we’ll be beating him on track. And we at the same time can embark on a new route with another new driver next to George.”

And beating him on track was Wolff’s jibe to Hamilton after the 39-year-old broke the news.

“I think first I can’t imagine him in the red. I don’t think it suits him,” the Austrian added. “But I think that picture is gonna be interesting.

“And then I told him, ‘You got to really picture our rear wing, because that’s the perspective you’re going to have’.”

Read next: Revealed: Toto Wolff names four drivers on Mercedes shortlist to replace Lewis Hamilton