The dominant team of the decade, Mercedes struggled to adapt to a massive regulation overhaul implemented at the start of the season.
After 13 races, Hamilton is yet to record a race win this season – the deepest he’s ever gone into a season without a win in his career.
After finishing third at the season opener in Bahrain – albeit after late retirements to the two Red Bulls – Hamilton was bundled out of Q1 in Saudi Arabia and scored just a single point in the race. He then endured a dismal showing at Imola, where he finished 13th.
Much of the team’s early struggles could be attributed to the severe porpoising the team were suffering.
To make matters even worse for the seven-time world champion, young teammate George Russell has finished no lower than fifth all season, save for his only retirement at the British grand prix.
Mercedes have now got on top of the worst of the porpoising issues, and Hamilton has strung together five successive podiums since the Canadian grand prix in June.
At the bottom of Hamilton’s slump, there was some speculation he may leave the team – or even announce his retirement from the sport – in a move that would not have been too dissimilar to Sebastian Vettel at the end of 2014.
It was a suggestion Wolff has now dismissed.
“Lewis and I, even if the season would have gone wrong, we would have at least under the principle of hope, stayed together next year,” he told Motorsport.com.
“I haven’t been in touch actively or reactively (with anyone) about a drive with us going forward.”
Both Hamilton and Russell are locked in at Mercedes until the end of 2023.
Wolff said once the extent of the Brackley squad’s struggles became clear, Hamilton went through a period of acceptance of the team’s “new reality”.
“That’s certainly not a joyful experience, but after the first few races, he was very special,” Wolff said.
“He got settled in a situation that was all about how can we move this car back to the front.
“And even when I was not at my best, he was the most positive person in the room, building everyone up even if driving this car is a handful.
“In December, we raced for a world championship, and four months later, we have a car that is not championship material.
“So everyone – drivers, engineers, management – need to just find the ground and say, ‘OK, this is the reality now, what are we doing about it?’
“You can’t just flip the switch and say, ‘OK, no problem, we’re going to work ourselves out of it’.”
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