Toto Wolff is set to trust Lewis Hamilton with Mercedes’ secrets for the 2025 season, even though he will be racing for rivals Ferrari. The Brit’s blockbuster switch was confirmed last week and despite claiming to be fully committed to the Silver Arrows for the upcoming campaign, it could pose a serious risk going forward.
Besides the conundrum of replacing Hamilton, another issue Mercedes face is how much to involve the 39-year-old in discussions concerning next year’s car.
When a team is aware that their current driver will be racing for a different outfit in the future, they are typically phased out of meetings and briefings related to the following season’s vehicle. However, the input of a veteran driver such as Hamilton is invaluable and his feedback could lead to an improved car in 2025.
Mercedes will have to wrestle over whether to involve Hamilton in those discussions, opening up the risk of him spilling their secrets to Ferrari. However, Wolff has insisted that he has no fears over Hamilton giving away confidential information.
“In terms of the development going forward, I think this is something which we need to look at,” Wolff said. “The regulations stay pretty much the same. When it comes to 2025, we will evaluate later in the season what it means in terms of technical information, but that’s not something that bothers me at all.
“We have engineers that leave us and go to other teams and the notice periods are sometimes as short as six months. So I don’t have any doubt in Lewis’ integrity, in terms of sharing information. And in that respect, we want to make sure that this is a successful season for both drivers, and a successful season for Mercedes, and all of us will give our utmost to achieve that.”
Another interesting plot to follow throughout the coming season is whether George Russell will be given preferential treatment in terms of strategy.
He is the future face of the team after Hamilton’s departure, but Wolff insisted that both of his drivers will be treated fairly despite the differing circumstances surrounding their long-term commitments to Mercedes.
“I think what I’ve always tried to do as a team principal, and all of us at Mercedes, is to be transparent and fair,” Wolff added. “And nothing’s going to change in that respect in 2024. We owe it to our principles and our racing intent, how we go about – we will respect that. I will be sure that the drivers will respect it.”