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.
“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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