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Q&A with Toto Wolff

After the announcement that Lewis Hamilton will leave the team at the end of the 2024 season, Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team Principal and CEO Toto Wolff sat down to answers questions about the news.

In a wide-ranging media session, Toto discussed the background to the decision, what comes next for the team and the opportunity that this presents.

Toto on Lewis’ new challenge

Toto: When we signed the new contract last August, we opted for a shorter-term deal. We knew that it could be a benefit for both sides.

We couldn’t commit for a longer period, and we totally respect that you can change your mind. We’re big boys. It’s perfectly understandable that he needed a new challenge, that he was looking for a different environment and that it was maybe the last possibility to do something else.

We knew that our partnership would come to an end one day. We thought that was possibly at the end of 2025, so it was still a bit of a surprise. But I hold no grudge.

What it means is that our professional relationship comes to an end. Our personal relationship will continue though; we have a friendship that we’ve built over the past 10 years.

Lewis faced a difficult decision of where to drive and I respect the difficulty of the situation that he faced.

Toto on the year ahead

Toto: Our focus is on the 2024 season.

We have two excellent drivers. We have Lewis in his final year at Mercedes and George eager to get back in the car and perform.

Our main objective is to put a car on the track that has more pace than last year's car. We know how competitive the grid is and the challenge that is ahead of us. But we’re motivated to do our very best to compete.

Lewis was in the factory today to drive the W15 on the simulator for the first time. So we’re all focused on the year to come.

Toto on George

With all the Lewis discussion, something that has not been talked about is George.

George has the potential to be the next lead driver in the team, in the same generation as Lando [Norris] and [Charles] Leclerc and some of the others.

I couldn't wish for a better new team leader when Lewis leaves.

We have such a solid foundation, such a quick, talented and intelligent guy in the car. We just need to make the right choice for the second driver and that's not something I want to be rushed in to.

I'm really looking forward to taking the right decisions for the team, together with my colleagues, and maybe it's a chance to do something bold.

Toto on challenging other teams and what the future holds

Toto: We have 2024 together [with Lewis] and we want to make it the most successful we can.

Is it realistic that we are competing for the World Championship against Max in a Red Bull? If I'm looking at the probability, the odds are against us, but nevertheless we will give it our best shot.

We will be giving it everything we have to win the Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championships in the years to come. We will be doing this in the same way we want to win it in 2024, but in the future, it may be with another driver.

But it doesn't take anything away from the historic legacy that will always exist.

This journey together will be in the history books as much as the next journey of a Mercedes driver.