FEBRUARY 4, 2024
Vasseur relationship not affected by Hamilton snatch
Toto Wolff and Ferrari Team Principal Frédéric Vasseur go a long way back and over the 20 plus years they’ve known each other they forged the strongest friendship between Formula 1 team bosses, the Frenchman being best man at Wolff’s wedding and the two being in weekly contact, even after Vasseur took over Ferrari’s Formula 1 management.
Many of the young drivers Wolff managed in the past raced with Vasseur’s ASM and ART Grand Prix teams, from Formula Renault to Formula 2, cementing their friendship, and now Wolff has vowed that this will not change because Lewis Hamilton decided to leave Mercedes and join Ferrari: “I’ve got great respect for Fred, not only as a racing manager but also as a long-time friend. When he took the role at Ferrari it was clear that he needed to do the best he can for Ferrari and use the opportunity in order to do that. There is no bad feeling towards Fred and trying to get the best employees, the best drivers, so that has no effect on the relationship. It is a tough competition, it is a cutthroat environment and as much as I try to do the best for our group, he will do that for Ferrari.”
The Austrian went on to reveal Vasseur and him have been in constant contact since Hamilton broke the news to Wolff: “We’ve sopken numerous times, numerous times. We have coordinated on our communications and I speak to him multiple times every week.”
Wolff then made an interesting comparison with a very physical sport to explain the nature of his relationship with the Scuderia’s boss: “It’s a little bit like rugby, we punch each other in the nose but we are able to get off the pitch and have a respectful relationship.”
And on the subject of relationships, Wolff was also very confident Hamilton and him would remain in very good terms even after the British driver moves to Ferrari: “As for Lewis, clearly the timing was surprising for us too. But I guess now, maybe to give us a long time to decide what we want to do going forward for next year, and we will extract everything we have”, before concluding with another mention of Vasseur: “I have no doubt that Fred will be able to have a very good relationship with Lewis as his boss, no doubt about that. They have known each other for more than 20 years, he has raced in ART and Fred understands racing drivers’ minds and he does things very differently to me, but his track record is very successful.”