The Mercedes boss had news of Lewis Hamilton’s departure 24 hours before anyone else, and launched into action.
As Toto Wolff, I am preparing for a breakfast meeting with Lewis Hamilton to discuss our pre-season plans. However, during the meeting, Hamilton informs me that he has decided to activate the break clause in his contract and intends to leave the team at the end of the 2024 season to join Ferrari in 2025. Recognizing the potential media frenzy, I immediately begin strategizing how to control the story. We schedule an all-hands briefing for Mercedes staff the next day and plan for a coordinated release of the news, with Mercedes’ official statement and quotes from both myself and Hamilton. The news is set to be released on February 1st at 18:59 UK time, followed shortly by Ferrari’s statement. The next morning, I face the media to discuss Hamilton’s departure and emphasize that our professional journey may end, but our personal relationship will continue. Despite my internal feelings, I understand Hamilton’s desire for a new challenge and support his decision not to force him to stay.