Toto Wolff called out Lewis Hamilton after another awkward performance in Japanese Grand Prix

With a disappointing ninth place finish in his final Japanese Grand Prix as a Mercedes driver, Lewis Hamilton’s future Ferrari team once again took first place.

Lewis Hamilton acknowledged that he and Toto Wolff, his manager, will soon need to discuss his departure from Mercedes.

After deciding to join Ferrari, Hamilton has decided to leave the Silver Arrows at the end of the current season. Mercedes will understandably not want the seven-time F1 champion to divulge too many details about their operations to his new employer, given the two teams’ intense rivalry.

It is typical for drivers who voluntarily leave a team to be excluded from some conversations, especially those that deal with long-term planning. When questioned about it at the Japanese Grand Prix, Hamilton said he would soon need to discuss how that will work with his boss.

“I will eventually have to initiate the conversation with Toto,” he stated. This time of year, I’ve never been in this position before. It was close to the end of the season when I left McLaren. After the season, I had my first seat fit at Mercedes.

“I want to end on a high note right now, so all of my energy is going into this, even though I’m not quite sure how to navigate it. Naturally, anticipation for the future exists. We’re going through a challenging time right now, so that’s my challenge and the focus of my energy, trying to figure out how we can rise back to the top.”

Before the season started, Wolff discussed this subject and laid out his strategy for handling it. “I believe that being open and equitable is what I’ve always tried to do as a team principal, along with all of us at Mercedes,” he stated.

“In that regard, nothing will change in 2024. We will respect our principles and our racing intent, as well as the way we conduct ourselves. Additionally, I guarantee that the drivers will honor it.

“I believe this is something we should consider in light of future developments. The rules essentially remain unchanged. Regarding 2025, we will assess its technical implications later in the season, but that doesn’t bother me in the slightest.

Sometimes the notice periods are as short as six months, and we lose engineers to other teams. Thus, I have no reason to doubt Lewis’s honesty when it comes to disclosing information. In that regard, we all want to ensure that this is a successful season for Mercedes as well as for both drivers, and we will do everything in our power to make that happen.”

Following a failed tyre strategy gamble, Hamilton finished the Suzuka race down in ninth place. George Russell, a teammate, performed marginally better but was still only able to place seventh.

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