Toto Wolff fuelled by ‘personal anger’ to help Lewis Hamilton win eighth title
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said he is fuelled by a personal anger and drive to help Lewis Hamilton win the record eighth world championship he was denied in Abu Dhabi.
In an interview with the PA news agency ahead of this weekend’s blockbuster Las Vegas Grand Prix, team principal Wolff also revealed his own succession plan at Mercedes – in which he plans to skip as many as 10 races each season – and claimed Hamilton, 38, could compete in Formula One for at least another five years.
Wolff has arrived in Sin City for the inaugural night race on the Las Vegas strip following Mercedes’ abysmal performance last time out in Brazil – one he described as the worst of his career.
Hamilton finished 63 seconds behind winner Max Verstappen, and gloomily predicted he will not be a championship contender for the next two years.
Next month will mark two years since the seven-time world champion last won a race, and that ill-fated evening in Abu Dhabi where race referee Michael Masi’s failure to imply the correct rules left him at the mercy of Verstappen. The Dutchman took the championship in the desert before quickly racking up another two titles in his all-conquering Red Bull.
We are living in a hamster wheel where time passes so quickly that it doesn’t feel like it has been two years,” said Wolff.
“You can see how quickly the pecking order changes. We won eight constructors’ championships in a row, and it has been two years since Red Bull have been taking the trophy home. But we have to look forward, learn from the past, and the push now is to make Lewis win quickly again.
“I have a personal anger, and drive to make him win the eighth title because he should have had it.
“As a team principal, it is important to be fair and open with both drivers. But there is a big part of us that will always want to be a part of that story in undoing and overcoming 2021.”
Hamilton will start a new two-year deal with the Silver Arrows next season, worth an estimated £100million. He will be nearly 41 at the conclusion of the contract, but Wolff does not believe it will be his last with Mercedes.
“We are living from contract-to-contract, and it is important that we are doing what we think is right and what we feel is right, and at the moment I personally feel he can go longer,” added the Austrian.