Lewis Hamilton, Crescent Racing Yamaha Superbike test, Jerez, 2018

Wolff didn’t know about Hamilton’s Superbike test

2019 F1 season

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Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff revealed he wasn’t aware Lewis Hamilton had arranged to test a Superbike last year, but said he isn’t concerned his driver’s interests outside F1 could prove a distraction.

Speaking in today’s FIA press conference, Wolff revealed he only learned of Hamilton’s plans to test a Superbike last December when he tried to call the five-times world champion.

“We had a laugh last year because I couldn’t get hold of him and I couldn’t get hold of my chief strategist and one of the race engineers – and found out they were racing motorbikes in Jerez and nobody would pick up the phone. And then they were a bit apologetic.”

Hamilton had a minor crash when he came off the Yamaha YZF-R1 he was testing at the Spanish circuit. Wolff admitted he does worry about the potential for injury in some of his driver’s activities, such as his recent skydiving trips, but doesn’t believe they dilute Hamilton’s focus on F1.

“Lewis is not an 18 or 19-year-old young man any more,” said Wolff. “He’s a five-time world champion. He knows exactly what works for him and what doesn’t.

“All these activities, in my experience, are not a negative distraction but on the other hand something that he enjoys that he enjoys doing. Some things are just a hobby: like sports; others are more of a passion, like the fashion business and every time he’s able to decompress from motor racing, he comes back stronger.

“We mustn’t be judgemental. Some people go on a meditation seminar to India. Others do skydiving. Others are out for the ladies. Let’s accept how everybody is. He is justified and has shown that he is one of the best out there.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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12 comments on “Wolff didn’t know about Hamilton’s Superbike test”

  1. I don’t hear anybody saying it, so I’m going to say it: I love Toto Wolff! I think he’s an amazing team lead, hard as nails – I am sure – but with a lot of charisma. Of course, he plays the game, and of course some things he says you have to take with a pinch of salt. But he is epic at his job. And he has a huge amount of passion. I love it when he slams his fist on the table when things don’t go right. He’s a perfectionist and one of the main reasons Mercedes has won all those titles recently. Hats off to him. And I bet he’s a right laugh in the pub!

    1. Agree I’ve always found him an impressive team boss

    2. I wonder… if he’d stayed at Williams?

      1. Frank won’t let go…. he’s lost countless opportunities and people due to this (BMW, Adrian and Toto to name a manufacturer and two top guys).. another team offers what they want and they will go… simples.

      2. @kcrossle Exactly…the scenario presents itself for speculation. Many things probably would have been quite different…but I doubt Williams would be winning races, nonetheless.

    3. I don’t like him, but I do respect him. Superb team boss.

    4. EmancipatedMonkeys
      15th March 2019, 16:06

      My girlfriends Yorkshire terrier is named after him, and regularly has to explain it’s nothing to do with the wizard of oz.

    5. digitalrurouni
      15th March 2019, 16:40

      I wholeheartedly agree. I think given his job and given the pressures he definitely seems to be the best team boss around in the paddock. Sure he downplays his team but I would be too in his shoes. People will find a way to complain one way or the other anyway.

    6. He’s a drama queen and a two-faced politician. Guess he fooled you …

  2. Dutchguy (@justarandomdutchguy)
    15th March 2019, 14:59

    Mature response from Wolff

  3. Lewis does skydiving, too! &ladies. Honestly.

    But Toto seems as a false person.

  4. I think after 5 World Championships you can do whatever the ^$*! you want. It’s obviously working for him so let him go.

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