Lewis Hamilton exit will make Mercedes ‘stronger’ says Toto Wolff’s ex-confidant

Lewis Hamilton exit will make Mercedes 'stronger' says Toto Wolff's ex-confidant

Williams boss James Vowles, who previously worked under Toto Wolff at Mercedes, believes that Lewis Hamilton‘s impending switch to Ferrari will be a good move for all parties. Hamilton will leave the Silver Arrows to drive for Ferrari in 2025, with the 39-year-old having signed a multi-year contract with the Italian outfit.

Hamilton’s exit from Mercedes will mark the end of a hugely successful 12-year partnership, which stretches all the way back to 2013. The Brit has won six of his seven world titles with the Silver Arrows, the last coming in 2020, while he has also claimed 82 race victories during his spell on their books.

Vowles worked closely with Hamilton at Mercedes before leaving to join Williams as team principal at the start of last year. Quizzed on the bombshell news that shocked the world last week, he backed Mercedes to come back stronger following Hamilton’s exit, which he believes will end up being a smart move for all parties involved.

“The timing came as a surprise to me,” Vowles told media including Express Sport. “I think most world champions have a desire to be there [at Ferrari]. It’s a force of nature, still the most successful team in F1 – Williams is the second most successful team in F1 – but it is, it can’t be ignored.

“For every human in the world, moving from where you’re comfortable to where you’re not challenges you and pushes you to the limit. That’s Lewis all over. The fact he’s doing it, I actually think it’s good for the sport. It will be good for Lewis as he will learn from it and challenge himself.

“It’s not good for Mercedes short-term, but actually I think you’ll see they will be absolutely fine when it comes to drivers and they’ll come back stronger as a result. Ultimately, it’s a good thing all round in time.”

It remains to be seen who Mercedes will target to replace Hamilton when he departs to join Ferrari next year. It has been speculated that teenage prospect Kimi Antonelli, who is set to make his debut in Formula Two this year, could emerge as a potential option for the Silver Arrows if he impresses.

A number of current F1 drivers have also been linked with the upcoming Mercedes vacancy, including Williams ace Alex Albon. The 27-year-old is regarded as one of the sport’s brightest talents but Vowles was quick to issue a hands-off warning to any teams interested in snapping him up.

He said: “The situation with Alex, will I stand in his way? I have a responsibility with Williams on my shoulder, that’s the most important thing to me. It’s not the responsibility towards one individual, in this case Alex, it’s the responsibility to the team.”

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