Wolff Reportedly Most Probably Didn't Know About Hamilton's Contract With Ferrari

F1
by Adam OndrikThursday, 01 February 2024 at 19:00
hamiltonwolff mercedes
Recent reports suggest Toto Wolff was not present at Mercedes's factory briefing, suggesting Lewis Hamilton's departure came as a surprise.
Lewis Hamilton was rumored to be in talks over a potential seat with Ferrari last year. After the 39-year-old signed a contract extension with Mercedes, Toto Wolff mentioned in an interview that he never doubted he would stay with the team.
In the same interview, Mercedes's team principal even revealed how Hamilton informed him about the contact with the president of Ferrari, John Elkann.
Back then, Wolff quoted the seven-time World Champion as saying: "I saw John Elkann at dinner, but know that I’m not going anywhere."
However, according to today's news, Hamilton is indeed going to Ferrari. From what Rachel Brookes reported outside Mercedes's headquarters, the news might have come as a surprise even to Toto Wolff.

"Toto Wolff was thought to be here on the premises, he actually isn’t, he dialled in from abroad for that meeting which maybe shows you just what a surprise it was."

Briefing the Mercedes team on the departure of their key long-term member like Lewis Hamilton is quite a big news and the team principal would most probably want to attend such a meeting in person.
The team principal's inability to attend the meeting at the Mercedes factory in Brackley in person suggests that he learned about it very late.

"The story first started circulating earlier on this morning in the media in Italy and in Spain and it gathered with such pace that that meeting was called here at Mercedes so that staff could be spoken to."

Many questions arise with this shocking news, such as: will Mercedes be uncompetitive in upcoming seasons? Has Ferrari unclocked something special? Who will be driving for Mercedes in 2025? We will get answers to all of them shortly, but for now, we have to wait.