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Toto Wolff

Wolff insists 'nothing has changed' despite 'surprise' Hamilton news

The Mercedes Team Principal admits that he was "surprised" by the news that Lewis Hamilton would leave the team early, but believes it has not impacted the team moral.

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Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff has insisted that "nothing has changed" within the team, despite the "surprise" Lewis Hamilton news that rocked Formula 1.

The seven-time World Champion announced that this would be his last season with the Silver Arrows at the beginning of the month, before making the switch to Ferrari for 2025.

Wolff conceded that it came as a "surprise" for the team, after he elected to extend his contract until the end of the 2025 season.

An option was exercised which enables him to leave early, meaning Mercedes are faced with having to find a replacement in the next 12 months.

"We knew our partnership with Lewis would come to an end one day," said Wolff.

"We thought maybe at the end of 2025, so the timing came as a surprise, but I respect the decision he was faced with and the one he made."

Wolff: Next 12 months 'critical' for journey to the front

Even though Hamilton leaving will impact the team moral, Wolff believes they are still focused on maximising their potential ahead of the new season.

"Nothing has changed for us this year, our focus remains the same. We have two excellent drivers. In George, we have a quick, talented, and intelligent driver behind the wheel. A strong foundation for the future," said Wolff.

"In Lewis, we have a motivated multiple world champion, and we want to make his final year with us as successful as we can. Both drivers have gone through the same learnings and important lessons as the team in the past years. They both know what they need to do and that is really positive for us."

Wolff believes the next few months will be "critical" for the team to understand who they want to get in to replace Hamilton, as he will leave a big gap to fill in their driver lineup.

"It is also an exciting opportunity for the years ahead now. We have the chance to set the future direction and stability of our driver line-up heading into the next era of F1," he added.

"That will be critical in the team’s continued journey to the front, and we will take our time to get it right."

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