Toto Wolff rejects Lewis Hamilton sabotage claims as Mercedes report email to police

Toto Wolff at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix/Toto Wolff rejects Lewis Hamilton sabotage claims as Mercedes report email to police
Toto Wolff at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, where the Mercedes chief rubbished 'conspiracy theories' about him favouring George Russell - Clive Rose/Getty Images

Toto Wolff has rejected claims that Mercedes are trying to ‘sabotage’ Lewis Hamilton’s final season with the team, describing them as the work of “conspiracy theorists and lunatics”. But the Mercedes team principal added there were “limits” to what he was prepared to tolerate, confirming he had referred to the police an anonymous email accusing him of “vindictive” behaviour and even of putting Hamilton’s life at risk.

The email, which had the subject line “A potential death warrant for Lewis” and which claimed to be from a member of the Mercedes team, was sent on June 10 to the same extensive F1 media list as another anonymous email sent out earlier this season following the Christian Horner allegations.

It did not initially reach many of its intended recipients, including this correspondent’s, as it was picked up by Spam folders. The Telegraph has now seen it.

The email alleged “systematic sabotaging” of Hamilton’s final season with Mercedes and described Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff as “vindictive” and of doing “everything possible to get back at” the driver following his decision to switch to Ferrari in 2025.

“With the exception of Bono [Hamilton’s race engineer Pete Bonnington] and those of us who love Lewis, others are on a dangerous course that could ultimately be life-threatening to Lewis, other drivers, even the public,” it read. “A cold tyre strategy is a death warrant.

“Toto, George beware and be correct. Not all of us are prepared to be a part of your unfair unprofessional destruction of Lewis for your own self gratification.”

British driver Lewis Hamilton during the Spanish GP's first practice session at the Circuit de Catalunya/Toto Wolff rejects Lewis Hamilton sabotage claims as Mercedes report email to police
Hamilton during the first practice session at the Circuit de Catalunya - Josep Lago/AFP via Getty Images

Wolff said anyone of that opinion needed to “see a shrink”. “It is not from a member of the team,” he said. “When we are getting these kinds of emails, and we are getting tonnes of them, it is upsetting particularly when someone is talking about death and all these things.

“On this particular one, I have instructed to go full force with police inquiring it, researching the IP address, researching the phone number, because online abuse in that way needs to stop. People can’t hide behind their phones, or their computers, and abuse teams or drivers in a way like this.

“I don’t know what some of the conspiracy theorists, lunatics think out there. Lewis was part of the team for 12 years, we have a friendship, we trust each other, we want to win … and end this on a high and celebrate the relationship.

“And if you don’t believe all of that, then you can believe we want to win the constructors’ world championship and that is by making both cars win. To all of these mad people out there, take [see] a shrink.”

Mercedes driver George Russell in the Barcelona paddock with girlfriend Carmen Montero Mundt/Mercedes report email claiming Lewis Hamilton 'sabotage' to police
Mercedes driver Russell in the Barcelona paddock with girlfriend Carmen Montero Mundt - Kym Illman/Getty Images

Some media also received allegations of a similar nature to their mobile phones, but Wolff added that it was “irrational” to think that the team would try to sabotage one of their own cars.

“We want to be successful with the most iconic driver the sport has ever had,” he insisted. “I totally respect the reasons for him going to Ferrari. There is no grudge, there is no bad feeling, the interaction we have in the team is positive, and so commenting from outside on what is going on in the team is simply wrong.

“But there is a limit. If emails are being sent, and telephone numbers are being used, for me, the joking stops. And we will pursue it, whether [we are] successful or not.”

Norris labels allegations ‘stupid’

Wolff found support from Ferrari team principal Fred Vasseur, who said no team would countenance sabotaging one of their own cars. “How you could imagine that the company with 1500 people working night and day, pushing like hell to bring upgrades each races, we could kill or damage one of the cars?”

McLaren’s Lando Norris also described the allegations as “the most stupid thing ever”. “Why would they want to take points away from their own driver?” he asked. “There are going to be things that Mercedes are working on that they are not going to be telling Lewis about. But that has always been the case [if a driver is leaving] and that is not the reason behind what is happening there. George is just doing a good job and people need to give George more credit.”

Meanwhile, Flavio Briatore — who famously did sabotage one of his own cars to engineer a victory for Fernando Alonso in Singapore in 2008 — returned to the same team yesterday.

Alpine confirmed that the Italian, 74, who has overturned a lifetime ban from the sport, had been appointed executive advisor to Renault Group CEO Luca de Meo on Formula One matters.