Missing Wolff to send congratulatory text to Red Bull

Toto Wolff will not be present for another consecutive grand prix.

This absence implies he won’t be around when Red Bull’s Max Verstappen secures his third consecutive world championship.

“I will congratulate Helmut (Marko) via WhatsApp,” the Mercedes chief revealed to Osterreich newspaper.

“Despite all the rivalry, you have to remain a fair sportsman,” Wolff remarked. “The car, the team, the driver – they are the benchmark. You can only congratulate them.”

Having missed the Japanese GP due to a knee operation, Wolff, at 51, had anticipated being back for the Qatar race.

“The operation couldn’t have gone better,” he shared. “Maybe I just overdid it a bit with the rehab afterwards. In any case, my doctor said that long flights aren’t for me at the moment.”

Nonetheless, both Wolff and Lewis Hamilton have emphasized that Wolff’s involvement in the Qatar race weekend is undiminished.

“He’s obviously devastated that he can’t be here,” Hamilton commented. “but he called during our meeting today and he’ll call again in the meetings tomorrow morning and afternoon. He still leads the team 100 percent,” the champion driver affirmed, even in Wolff’s physical absence, with responsibilities being taken up by deputy Jerome d’Ambrosio and communications chief Bradley Lord.

“He’s worked incredibly hard to get this team to where it is today and he should be able to spend his days off without any problems,” Hamilton stated. “I’ve told him not to worry.”

In a reassuring note, Wolff mentioned he has “built a pitwall” within his residence to ensure he remains “connected to the team and fully involved”.

Such involvement will undoubtedly be reassuring to Hamilton, who has been urging Mercedes to provide a superior car for 2024.

“We tell ourselves exactly that every day,” Wolff conveyed. “The development curve has to be steeper than ever now. Because Red Bull is so far ahead, we are completely changing our car concept.”

Concluding his thoughts on the present car’s suitability to the Qatar circuit, Wolff stated: “I expect more in Mexico or Brazil,” adding, “By then I want to be fit and on site again.”