Wolff wouldn’t blame Hamilton for leaving Merc
JEDDA, Saudi Arabia. Toto Wolff wouldn’t blame Lewis Hamilton for leaving Mercedes if the team struggle continued for another year or two.
Hamilton looks to be in for another disappointing season this year after Mercedes fell even further behind Red Bull in the winter and its engine customer Aston Martin.
Hamilton has won six of his seven titles with Mercedes, but his current contract expires at the end of this year.
Team boss Wolf, who has urged his engineers to get back to the drawing board after the first qualifying of the year in Bahrain, doesn’t expect Hamilton to leave Mercedes at the end of this year, but won’t be mad at his driver if he’s considering other options beyond that.
“I don’t think Lewis will leave Mercedes,” Wolf said. “He is at a stage in his career where we trust each other, we have strong bonds with each other, and we have no reason to doubt each other, although this is not an easy time.
“It will be so nice when we get out of this valley of tears and get back to solid performances.
“However, as a driver, if he wants to win another championship, he must make sure he has a car. And if we can’t demonstrate that we can give him a car in the next couple of years, then he needs to look everywhere.
“I don’t think he’s doing it at this stage, but I won’t grumble if it happens in a year or two.”
Wolf admits that Mercedes made bad design decisions this year, but said he started the season believing he would still be competitive.
“I think we really tried really hard to make it work, because the data we extrapolated showed us it worked, and we were very simply wrong,” Wolf said. “You can see that the three fastest cars have a similar concept of how they generate performance, and it’s very different from ours.
“At a certain stage, we came to the conclusion that we were wrong. They just made a mistake.
“We understand crystal clear what we have done and why we are in a place that does not bring us productivity. But to understand it from, let’s say, the scientific side is not yet … it is sometimes difficult. to find a way to get back to real car performance.
“But we have a big step forward from what we saw after pre-season testing, in terms of our understanding.”