Toto Wolff, Lewis Hamilton, Jeddah, 2023

No concerns Hamilton could take Mercedes information to Ferrari – Wolff

Formula 1

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Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff says he is not concerned about the possibility Lewis Hamilton will take valuable information to Ferrari when he joins them next year.

Wolff only learned of Hamilton’s plans to join Ferrari when the pair met on Wednesday last week. Their final year of working together at Mercedes will be the 12th of their relationship, and Wolff is confident Hamilton won’t take any development secrets with him when he heads to Maranello.

“In terms of the development going forward, I think this is something which we need to look at,” he told media including RaceFans last week. “The regulations pretty much stay the same [next year]. And when it comes to 2025, we will evaluate later in the season what it means in terms of technical information.

“But that’s not something that bothers me at all. We have engineers that leave us and go to other teams and the notice periods are sometimes as short as six months. I don’t have any doubt in Lewis’s integrity in terms of sharing information and in that respect, I just want to make sure, we want to make sure that this is a successful season for both drivers and a successful season for Mercedes and all of us will give our utmost to achieve that.”

He also stressed the team will continue to treat Hamilton and George Russell equally in their final season as team mates.

“What I’ve always tried to do as a team principal and all of us at Mercedes, is to be transparent and fair, and nothing’s going to change in that respect in 2024,” said Wolff. “We owe it to our principles and our racing intent, how we go about and we will respect that and I [am] sure that the drivers will respect it.”

However he admitted the year ahead will be “a new situation to manage for Lewis and for the team.”

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“But it is something that when you focus on the really short-term, and this is the racing team that’s being deployed to run the product, that doesn’t have a big impact on everything that’s happening going forward on the development side.

“I’m always interested in the new and challenging situations and balancing 2024 Mercedes interests versus 2025 driver interests is something that we will openly discuss at the beginning how to manage it, and for sure come to a good outcome between us.”

Last month Mercedes confirmed Wolff had extended his contract as CEO and team principal. He also has a one-third stake in the team, and said he wouldn’t have reconsidered his contract extension had he known of Hamilton’s plans earlier.

“No, it wouldn’t have changed that. I think whatever role in the team or whatever title you may give it, I’m going to be there in the future. So it was a no-brainer to continue in an executive role. You can call it CEO or managing director, chairman or a team principal, the easiest way was to stick with what we have.

“It wouldn’t have affected me because I’m so proud in being part of this Mercedes Formula 1 team that carries this huge legacy of the star and racing history and we’re going to write more history in the future as the Mercedes Formula 1 team. And that is what I aim to do with everyone in the team and with everybody in Stuttgart and therefore, as much as this journey is so special, we have 10 or 20 or more years before being over-run by a bus to have more success.”

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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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19 comments on “No concerns Hamilton could take Mercedes information to Ferrari – Wolff”

  1. Unless he starts getting weirdly obsessed with photocopiers. it’ll be fine I’m sure.

    1. you mean usb drives nobody uses paper anymore (except Adrian Newey)

      1. And as far as I am aware all data are logged to show who views, accesses and certainly makes prints, screenshots or copies of them. I would also think that all their computers have USB ports disabled in general to avoid pulling data that way.

        But yes, I get the reference.

        1. @bascb – Basic DLP controls…

  2. Nice words before the season has started. However come May or June and I wonder how things are – team orders and development wise – I can’t image they will favor the driver that is leaving. That applies to Ferrari and Sainz as well and I think it might influence the season quite a bit.

    1. notagrumpyfan
      8th February 2024, 17:13

      They can always send him on gardening leave; attach some cutting blades to the floor and send him of to cut the lawn.

      It would be a bit suspicious if next year’s Ferrari is launched with similar cutting blades ;)

    2. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      8th February 2024, 19:44


      I can’t image they will favor the driver that is leaving.

      The amount of money they pay him and their success together certainly has to be worth more than telling Ferrari to add a fin to their front wing.

      And the upshot of performing well is much more important than any secrets Lewis can take with him.

      It’s akin to Max leaving Red Bull and telling the other team you need to put more ducts under the car to create more downforce. The engineers will reply “yeah, we know that – we just know don’t know how to make it happen!”.

      1. No sure – but when it comes to who gets updates first, who are they gonna listen to when further developing the car or in a race situation and tactics come in play – they might end up favoring the guy that stays. Let alone when they do end up fighting for championship positions.

  3. if it took them a year and a half to figure out their straight line performance was being destroyed by overheating their motor + what was very obvious poor aero flow. … Well I think that pretty much explains everything. The only way Mercedes are climbing back up to #1 in the championship is if Ferrari hand it to them on a platter. Lewis is clearly bailing because they are full of lies or they have no clue. (people who show up at the staff meetings to discuss engineering hurdles).

  4. yeah because there is nothing valuable to speak of lol

  5. Like Ferrari would listen anyway… they like to do their own thing, usually to hillarious results.

  6. Well, bring Carlos Sainz to the team so it’s a “fair game”; you can exchange all the info with Ferrari. Too bad it’s RB information that only makes sense at this point though; but Perez is probably still not worth the gamble.

  7. Guess they could by accident leave some blueprints on the table for a zero-sidepod design for Lewis to find.

  8. Of course, he wont, not only because he’ll be kept in the dark about any relevant-for-future technical developments & because NDA requirements don’t necessarily end simultaneously with employment.

  9. This seems unrealistic. Unless Hamilton has never been involved and just turned up to drive the car (which wouldn’t be a good message for Ferrari), this is a not constructive situation.

  10. We have engineers that leave us and go to other teams and the notice periods are sometimes as short as six months

    Certainly, depending on your mood. All Mercedes staff, particularly senior members, are bound by strict clauses and may face up to a year of gardening leave. On another note, the value Hamilton brings to Ferrari isn’t solely about the information regarding this year’s car.

    Hamilton possesses insider knowledge of the procedures, processes, and methods employed at Mercedes. Additionally, he holds an invaluable network of Mercedes staff, some of whom may be tempted to join Ferrari. These individuals possess comprehensive knowledge of Mercedes F1 technology and suppliers. Given the efforts teams undertake to protect their intellectual property IP and the NDAs they sign with partners, this could be significant.

    Toto can say whatever he wants, but Hamilton’s departure from Mercedes is the biggest blow he’s had in his career, even surpassing Max’s 2021 WDC win. And frankly, Toto deserves it !

    1. I don’t follow your last claim. You’re a kind of person who thinks that someone working hard and is successful in doing his job deserves to be stabbed in the back because of it. I hope majority of mankind still has better morals than you do.

  11. Additionally, he holds an invaluable network of Mercedes staff, some of whom may be tempted to join Ferrari.

    I’m sure I’ll get hammered; Hamilton is a great driver, but I don’t feel he connects with others. I seriously doubt Mercedes staff will be willing to ‘follow’ him to Ferrari because he generates personal attractions; there almost seems to be a hidden side of Lewis that has him hold others at arm’s length. Yeah jump on me…..

    1. Seriously doubt merc staff will follow Lewis, he generates personal attractions (wherever that means) he holds others at arms length.
      And you come to all these conclusions by watching sky f1 do you?

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