Mercedes currently have fingers in two pies, especially after they launched their Formula E team. Now, it seems that Mercedes F1 team principal, Toto Wolff has no qualms about letting Lewis Hamilton sample a Mercedes Formula E car.
However, he was quick to shut down suggestions that Lewis Hamilton may consider a career swap. Admittedly, Hamilton sampled a EQC Mercedes road car in Melbourne ahead of the 2019 Australian Grand Prix. He gave a particularly glowing report on the experience of driving an electric car on social media.
According to the FE rules, all teams have three promotional days, reserved for filming each season. In addition to that, they have 15 days of private testing to allow manufacturers to work on their powertrains each year.
“We drove together [in an electric Mercedes road car],” Wolff revealed to Autosport
“We drove from the hotel to a Mercedes store in Australia and we were both really amazed [at] how well that car drove.”
“If he wanted [to drive the FE car] – absolutely. And I’m sure at a certain stage in a career he’s going to maybe try it.”
“But I’m not saying that he’s going to drive [as a Mercedes racer] in Formula E! He has his hands full with his current job.”
The manufacturer’s aim is to promote its brand of EQ electric road cars, and the switch the Gen2 FE car was one of the key reasons behind its entry.
Wolff has not set particularly lofty goals like the Formula E championship in its maiden season. Instead, Wolff will dedicate “maybe 10%” of his time to the electric project along with his responsibilities as Mercedes’ F1 team principal.
“I have a situation where as head of Mercedes motorsport I the ultimate responsibility for all our works motorsports within the Daimler group,” he explained.
“But in that case, being a team principal and chief executive officer for an F1 team, I can’t, I haven’t got enough capacity to actively lead the FE project in an executive role.
“So what we have decided is to hire dedicated leadership for the FE team, which is headed by Ian James, who worked for Daimler before.
“So he’s the team principal of the Formula E team – he reports to me – in a separate structure. You need to do it full time.
“I’m involved in the main strategic decisions but I would say it’s taking maybe 10% of my time.”