Toto Wolff recalls ‘divorce’ talk with Lewis Hamilton amid contract gridlock

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Lewis Hamilton joined Mercedes from McLaren forward of the 2013 season. Hamilton’s transfer coincided with Austrian government Toto Wolff taking up because the Crew Principal of Mercedes. Hamilton and Mercedes cast an incredible partnership successful six drivers’ titles and eight constructors’ championships. Wolff has now revealed that the connection between him and Hamilton was not all the time easy. Wolff stated that Hamilton wanted a while to re-engage with him in 2016, which noticed a bitter combat within the Mercedes staff for the title between Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. Hamilton, the defending champ, misplaced out to Rosberg for the F1 title, and he wasn’t blissful.

Mercedes' Austrian team chief Toto Wolff is pictured at the Hungaroring race track in Mogyorod near Budapest on July 22, 2023(AFP)
Mercedes’ Austrian staff chief Toto Wolff is pictured on the Hungaroring race monitor in Mogyorod close to Budapest on July 22, 2023(AFP)

“Lewis has develop into a pal. And through the years we’ve gone via troublesome spells and superb moments. We celebrated many championships and we had discussions amongst ourselves which weren’t all the time simple. A key second was on the finish of 2016 once we didn’t communicate to one another for some time. So I invited him to return to my kitchen in Oxford and sit down and have a chat. The analogy I gave to him is that additionally I’ve arguments with [my wife] Susie.

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“Even when we shout at one another, even when now we have this argument, there’s by no means considered divorcing, and that’s why I stated to him, ‘I don’t need to divorce you and neither do you. As a result of I need one of the best racing driver in our vehicles and also you need to have one of the best vehicles.’ So we got here to the conclusion that we will have battle, we will create an environment the place we’re in a position to be brutally trustworthy with one another, and generally we comply with disagree, however we transfer on,” Toto Wolff advised BBC’s Desert Island Discs.

Wolff has talked concerning the Hamilton and Rosberg rivalry earlier than and even claimed that he was able to drop the Mercedes riders for races. “It was very troublesome, as a result of I got here into the staff as a newcomer in F1 and Nico and Lewis had been within the sport for for much longer.. However nonetheless I used to be in a position to create an atmosphere the place they needed to respect the staff, generally with an iron fist, they usually understood that they couldn’t allow us to down, they couldn’t let Mercedes down,” Wolff stated in a podcast in 2021.

The rivalry between Hamilton and Rosberg was at its peak in 2016 they usually even took one another out on the Spanish GP that yr. Rosberg retired after successful the title in 2016 and was changed by Valterri Bottas. Regardless of having fun with a wonderful stint at Mercedes, Hamilton appears to be at the moment in a impasse over a contract extension. Hamilton’s present contract with Mercedes expires on the finish of the present season. It was broadly reported final month that the British racer had agreed to monetary phrases and the contract length with Mercedes. Although the seven-time world champion is but to finalise his settlement.

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