Lewis Hamilton has revealed Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff is "devastated" to not be at the Qatar Grand Prix despite a continued presence across the weekend.
The Austrian missed the Japanese Grand Prix after undergoing a knee operation and instead used a communication channel from home.
But despite initially hoping to return at the Lusail International Circuit, Wolff's recovery has determined he will miss a second weekend in a row.
Dismissing suggestions Wolff has not been as integrated in operations as usual in his absence, seven-time F1 World Champion Hamilton explained: "Toto's in every meeting.
"I saw someone wrote the other day that he had to call in or something for the last race... it was BS.
"Toto, even though he is not here in person - he is obviously devastated he can't be here - he is a part of every single meeting, he dialled into the meeting today, he will dial into the meeting tomorrow morning, he'll be in the meeting in the afternoon.
"He is on the comms just like the guys back at the factory are on the comms for strategy on the weekend.
"He is still 100 per cent full a part, he's just not physically here in the country, but he is still a part of those meetings, he speaks in all the meetings as he does when he's here.
"He has worked incredibly hard to set up this team to be where it is today and he should be able to have weekends off without a problem - he is the boss.
"I just tell him we will be pushing and not to worry."
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"Toto and I are in contact all the time, we are good friends and teammates," added Hamilton.
"We do a lot of talking about cars, we hang when I am back home, we have lunch and we talk a lot about... I am trying to learn from Toto as a businessman and he is always massively supportive.
"You're gonna see some things that will shift at least into next year but my progress, he has been such a huge part of that, being open-minded, allowing me to be who I am.
"We have done so much more than I think any other partnership that we have seen in the sport on many levels."