Ferrari chief blanked Toto Wolff as Mercedes come to terms with Lewis Hamilton exit

Ferrari chief blanked Toto Wolff as Mercedes come to terms with Lewis Hamilton exit

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Lewis Winter

By Lewis Winter

Published: 23/02/2024

- 18:02

Fred Vasseur did not tell his rival that Lewis Hamilton was joining Ferrari

Toto Wolff has revealed he was blanked by Fred Vasseur on WhatsApp, claiming the Ferrari team principal 'didn't do a good job' of communicating when luring Lewis Hamilton.

Wolff was left in the dark by his rival before Hamilton told him the news that he would be leaving Mercedes at the end of the 2024 season.

Seven-time world champion Hamilton will join Ferrari from 2025 having cut short the contract he signed with Mercedes last August.

He has since admitted it was a 'dream' to drive for the Italian team, having grown up idolising the great Michael Schumacher.

Toto Wolff and Lewis Hamilton

Mercedes chief Toto Wolff says he was blanked on WhatsApp by Fred Vasseur


Hamilton's decision to quit Mercedes came out of the blue earlier this month and will bring to an end a 12-year spell at the Silver Arrows.

Wolff said at the time that he only learned of the news from Hamilton over breakfast a couple of days before it became public knowledge.

The Austrian is in Bahrain for F1 testing this week and was asked about Vasseur's communication about the deal.

Wolff confirmed that Vasseur did not speak to him and says he had his suspicions after he ignored a WhatsApp message.

Wolff said: "No, he didn’t do a good job. We are friends since a long time and in the same way, we acknowledge that we are competitors on tracks.

"And so that is a balancing act that is not always easy because we have the duty and the obligation to perform to the best of our abilities for the interest of our team.

"And this is what Fred has done in that situation. I understand the rationale.

"Obviously, it’s not always easy in such a good relationship to know how to handle that, but it has no effects or no repercussions on the relationship that I will have with Fred.

"When I sent Fred a WhatsApp two days before he didn’t reply, so I guess I knew. But then, no, Fred didn’t tell me, Lewis felt that he wanted to tell me first."

Hamilton has won six of his World Championship titles under Wolff at Mercedes since joining in 2013.

The pair have built one of the most successful partnerships in the history of F1.

But Hamilton will have a new team principal next year and Vasseur is someone he already knows well.


Fred Vasseur

Fred Vasseur did not tell Toto Wolff that Lewis Hamilton was joining Ferrari


Hamilton said on Friday: "I've got a great relationship with Fred. Obviously, I raced for him in Formula 3 and we had amazing success in Formula 3 and also in GP2, and that's really where the foundation of our relationship started.

"And we just always remained in touch. I thought that he was going to be an amazing team manager at some stage and progress to Formula 1, but at the time he wasn't interested in that.

"And it was really cool to see him step into the Alfa (Sauber) team.

"And then when he got the job at Ferrari, I was just so happy for him.

Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton spoke about his move to Ferrari from Mercedes this week


"And I think just the stars aligned. I think it really wouldn't have happened without him.

"So I'm really grateful and really excited about the work that that he's doing there."

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