Formula 1 Racing

How Hamilton dropped his Ferrari bombshell on Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1, celebrates, Marc Hynes after taking his 69th F1 Pole Position

It has been a chance for the pair to digest the events of the previous campaign, run through developments over the winter and talk through aims and ambitions for the battle ahead.

They were the perfect opportunity for the pair to spend a good deal of time together, better grasp each other’s mindset and get everything lined up as they battened down for the intensity of the season that lay in front of them.

Speaking previously about the value of these meetings, Wolff had said: “I think at the end of the season is a good moment, where you can put everything on the table, some of the frustrations and undiscussed topics, and to reflect on them, and to analyse them and to agree or find out what actually happened.”

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That annual get-together was scheduled for this Wednesday morning at Wolff’s Oxford home – with Hamilton having been at Brackley the previous day for a seat-fitting with the 2024 car.

From Wolff’s perspective there was every reason to think that this would be a chance to hopefully draw a line over the team’s struggles for the past two seasons and get ready for what is hoped is a renewed competitive charge thanks to Mercedes’ all-new W15.

But things did not turn out as anticipated and instead, the key focal point of the meeting was Hamilton dropping the bombshell that he would be activating a release clause in his contract and had signed for Ferrari in 2025.

Almost simultaneously, Hamilton’s long-time confidante Marc Hynes, who has recently returned to a more active role in the seven-time champion’s management, had arrived at Mercedes’ Brackley factory to deliver a formal letter to the team notifying it of the situation.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1, celebrates, Marc Hynes after taking his 69th F1 Pole Position

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

Hamilton’s departure was now official and, despite the shock, the ball began rolling on managing the news prior to Thursday evening’s public confirmation of what was happening.

While there have been suggestions that the 31 January date may have been significant as a cut-off point for Hamilton to activate any options he had, it is understood that this was not the case.

Instead, events only played out this week because it appears that Hamilton wanted to let Wolff know face-to-face at the first opportunity he had, rather than do it through a phone call or via lawyers.

Let’s not forget…

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