Wolff Gave Hamilton Too Much Power In Mercedes Suggests Ecclestone

Tuesday, 30 April 2024 at 18:00
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Bernie Ecclestone (former F1 supremo) shared his opinion on Lewis Hamilton's departure from Mercedes to Ferrari.
Lewis Hamilton's decision to leave Mercedes came as unexpected news. The 39-year-old has been with the team since 2013.
When he signed another contract with Silver Arrows (for 2024 and 2025) in 2023, it seemed that he would continue to race for the German team until he retires.
Moreover, Mercedes's team principal, Toto Wolff, always praised Hamilton's "honest" relationship with the seven-time World Champion, and there was no sign of Hamilton thinking about leaving.
Consequently, it was a massive surprise when the news about the Mercedes driver's decision dropped. Bernie Ecclestone gave his two cents on the matter when he said, as quoted by Racingnews365:

"It was a strange, strange move to make. Toto has relied on him an awful lot more and they've become close for selfish reasons – both of them."

"I don't think there was ever a sort of a relationship where you could rely on both parties. There obviously wasn't because that's why he suddenly decided to leave."

One of the strangest aspects of this contract was that it was announced a year earlier. That is pretty unusual, and it has already caused both Ferrari and Hamilton quite a lot of trouble, as they have to answer contract-related questions every single race weekend.

"Big surprise in as far as I didn't understand why he did it, given the year's notice basically. Why didn't he wait [to announce it] until later on during the season?"

As it stands, Hamilton seems to have made the right decision to join the Prancing Horse regarding car performance. However, assessing the 39-year-old's decision overall, Ecclestone sees it more as an "ego thing."

"People thought [Ferrari had] done a clever deal in taking him, but I think it's a bit of an ego thing that he got latched into it all."

Concerning his relationship with the team principal of the German team, Ecclestone suggested Hamilton was given too much power, as he added:

"Too much of a handful – an unnecessary handful. He really sort of commands a little at Mercedes. Toto has let him be like that, to keep him on board and keep him happy."