Wolff comes clean about Hamilton, Marko and Jos

"I am for fairness and I fight for fairness"


30 June 2024 - 13:47
Wolff comes clean about Hamilton, (…)

Toto Wolff has opened up about three of his most fascinating relationships in Formula 1 - with Lewis Hamilton, with his fellow Austrian and key rival Dr Helmut Marko, and with Max Verstappen’s father Jos.

Relations between the Mercedes boss and Hamilton have been clearly strained in 2024, amid wild sabotage theories following the seven time world champion’s shock decision to move to Ferrari next year.

"What was painful is that I didn’t have time to react," Wolff said, referring to the way he heard the news about 39-year-old Hamilton’s decision.

"It was actually the same day as the announcement. It was clear that it leaked from Ferrari. It all happened on the same day," he told Sky Deutschland.

Wolff said he knew the last one-plus-one contract extension Hamilton signed could be the precursor to a team move, but the way the news emerged "did not give me enough time to do some stakeholder management, to call our sponsors and shareholders to explain what was going on".

"But I think of the motto ’work hard, forgive quickly, apologise if you’re wrong’. And the personal relationship with Lewis certainly doesn’t suffer," Wolff insisted. "I’ve come to terms with his choice now."

In a separate interview with Osterreich newspaper, however, Wolff vehemently denied the charge of the recently-leaked sabotage email that he is being "vindictive" in his 2024 dealings with Hamilton.

"I am certainly not that," the Austrian insisted. "On the contrary, I am for fairness and I fight for fairness. And I speak to Lewis every day.

"He thinks we should take out the negativity as well. He has also experienced much worse abuse before and thinks we should ignore it," Wolff added.

Another of Wolff’s F1 relationships that has taken a fascinating turn recently is with Dr Helmut Marko - his Austrian counterpart at key rival Red Bull Racing.

The 52-year-old admits he has gotten closer to Marko, 81, amid the power struggle and conflict at Red Bull this year.

"But we talk just as much or as little as we did in the past," Wolff smiled.

"What I can see is that the situation there is affecting him that this team no longer has the identity it used to have. I think they wanted this (Christian) Horner story to be handled the way it probably should have been handled - and that didn’t happen."

Wolff has also been heavily courting Max Verstappen for a sensational team switch for the Dutchman, which has also brought him closer together with Max’s mercurial father Jos.

"Jos and I are on the same wavelength and have always had a good relationship," Wolff insists. "It was never the case that we didn’t have the same mindset. We just had different views and perspectives," he added.

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