Mercedes‘ team boss, Toto Wolff, has stated he would not blame Lewis Hamilton for leaving the team if their struggles continued for another year or two. The team’s engine customer Aston Martin and Red Bull have both stepped up their games over the winter, but Wolff does not expect Hamilton to leave the team at the end of the year. However, he would not begrudge him if he chose to consider other options if Mercedes continued not to give him a car capable of winning a championship.
Regarding the current season, Hamilton appears set for yet another disappointing year, with the team’s departure from the norm of their car design proving a mistake. “At a certain stage we came to the conclusion, we got this wrong. Simply, we got it wrong,” Wolff said. “We do understand, crystal clear, what we’ve done and why we ended up in a place that doesn’t bring us performance. But understanding it from the, let’s say, scientific side isn’t yet … it’s sometimes difficult to find a way back into real performance onto the car.”
Wolff emphasised that Mercedes went into the season believing they would still be competitive, but their data analysis had been incorrect. “I think we’d really tried hard to make it work because the data that we have extrapolated showed us that this works, and we were proven wrong, very simply,” he said. “You can see that the three quickest cars have a similar concept of how they generate performance, and it’s very different to ours.”
Despite the current difficult spell, Wolff maintained the strong bond the team shares alongside Hamilton, expressing his confidence in their ability to come out of their current “valley of tears” returning to significant performances. He confirmed that he trusts Hamilton implicitly and believes Hamilton would want to stay with Mercedes. However, as Wolff points out, wining another championship is something Hamilton will want to achieve and will require a team that can give him a car to do so. If Mercedes cannot demonstrate that in the next couple of years, Hamilton may look elsewhere.