Toto Wolff believes that the presence of Lewis Hamilton in the Mercedes team has similarities with the role of Michael Schumacher in the team more than ten years ago.
The seven-time world champion will enter his 11th season with the Silver Arrows in 2023, having joined them in 2013 to replace the retired Schumacher, who returned to Formula 1 with Mercedes in 2010.
Although Schumacher could not win in the German team, the foundations that Michael laid in Mercedes, after which the team started with records, speak of his positive influence in the three years he spent there.
Considering such a situation, the Mercedes boss sees similarities between the German’s role within the team and Hamilton’s current position.
When asked on the Beyond The Grid podcast if he considered Hamilton part of the Mercedes board up to this point, Wolff explained: “I would say yes.”
“There is his involvement in the development of the car and his presence in the factory. But I think during the race weekends he became such a tall figure, like Michael (Schumacher) used to be,” he added.
“Or think about Tom Brady, on football teams, you become more than a player or just a driver, you’re emotionally part of the team.”
“He’s definitely not like – we’ve called them in the past – contractors, drivers [who] come, get paid and leave for the next opportunity. He has been with the team for 10 years: he is a member of the team.”
The 2022 season statistically proved to be Hamilton’s toughest to date, marking the first time the Briton has finished a season without a race win.
However, the Silver Arrows boss has been impressed with the way Hamilton has dealt with challenges throughout the season.
“[It was] extremely difficult [for him], because we gave him a tool that was not capable of winning,” explains the Austrian.
“On top of that, the drivers had a car that was unpredictable, unstable, good at times, bad at times. [It] wasn’t something you could work with and grow with.”
“But as a person, how he went through the season is really admirable. There were times when the team went down, because of not playing, in this way.”
“He brought people together and motivated them, and those are really management and personal qualities that I’ve never seen in a professional athlete,” Woff concluded.