Lewis Hamilton commits to Mercedes until 2025
Lewis Hamilton sent a pointed message to F1’s governing body at the FIA Gala by ditching his trophy for taking third place in the Drivers’ Championship. The Brit had spoken out in staunch defence of Toto Wolff and the Mercedes team principal’s wife, Susie Wolff, after a brief but controversial FIA investigation into the pair.
The whirlwind week started with the announcement that an investigation would be opened into Toto and Susie regarding confidential information allegedly passing from the Mercedes boss to his wife – managing director of the F1 Academy.
The allegation stems from an unsubstantiated claim made in a magazine, stating that rivals believed their relationship represented a conflict of interest. Both parties strongly denied that any such thing had taken place, and the FIA dropped their inquiry on Thursday.
At the FIA Gala this weekend, Hamilton slammed ‘certain individuals’ within the sport’s governing body, and appeared to send a message by leaving without the trophy he picked up for finishing third in the Drivers’ Championship.
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“It has been a challenging week, and a disappointing week,” said the seven-time world champion. “To see that the governing body has sought to question the integrity of one of the most incredible female leaders we have ever had in our sport in Susie Wolff without questioning and without any evidence and then just saying ‘sorry’ at the end. That is unacceptable.
“There is a constant fight to really improve diversity and inclusion within the industry. It seems there are certain individuals in the leadership of the FIA that every time we try and make a step forward they are trying to pull us back, and that has to change.”
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Toto Wolff released a statement after the FIA inquiry was dropped signalling his intent to pursue a full explanation. “We are currently in active legal exchange with the FIA,” it read. “We await full transparency about what took place and why, and have expressly reserved all legal rights.”
Hamilton’s digs towards the FIA, both blatant and subtle, meant that his frustrating F1 season ended on another bitter note. The 38-year-old went without a Grand Prix win for the second year running as he was forced to watch bitter rival Max Verstappen dominate.
A post-season debrief with Mercedes and a look ahead to 2024 will take Hamilton up to December 10 before he can clock out for the off-season, and the F1 veteran has already shed light on how he will spend his time.
“I’m going to go to LA to work on some music for a little bit,” he said. “A friend of mine is having a baby, so I’ll be there for that. Then family time in the mountains, fresh air, hiking and cross-country skiing.”
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