Lewis Hamilton has announced that his time working with performance coach Angela Cullen has come to an end.
The seven-time world champion has worked with physiotherapist Cullen for the last seven years, with the New Zealander by the Mercedes star’s side around the world as an integral part of his support team.
Cullen, 48, joined Hamilton’s team in 2016 and has worked with him during four of his seven world championships.
Yet suspicions were raised on Friday morning when Hamilton did not arrive in the paddock in Saudi Arabia with Cullen by his side, before the 38-year-old himself confirmed the news on Instagram.
In an emotional post, he said: “For the last seven years Angela Cullen has been by my side, pushing me to be the best version of myself. I am a stronger athlete and a better person because of her.
“So today I hope you’ll join me in wishing her the very best as she takes her next steps to pursue her dreams. Thank you for everything Ang, I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for you.”
Cullen used to play hockey at international level for New Zealand beween the ages of 15 and 21, before taking a degree in health science and physiotherapy from Auckland University of Technology.
She worked at the English Institute of Sport in London as a senior physiotherapist, working with British Olympic sprinters, before working for the New Zealand Academy of Sport.
Cullen herself posted a heartwarming slideshow of pictures on her social media, alongside a caption: “Exactly 7 years ago on this day I was standing in the F1 paddock for the first time at the Australian GP. Today I’m excited to share I’m off on my next adventure.
“I am so grateful and blessed to have had this incredible journey in F1 and I know my story will continue. Thanks to the MB team, who have been my family for the past 7 years.
“And Lewis Hamilton you GOAT!! It’s been such an honour and pleasure to stand along side you I’m so proud of you and everything you have achieved. Thank you for supporting me, believing in me and showing me the limitless potential we all have within us.
“I am so excited to watch the next chapter for you. There’s nothing you can’t do. Don’t stop believing. Lives journey is one big wave. Keep riding. Dream big. As dreams do come true. Forever by your side. STILL WE RISE.”
It is unclear at this point what Cullen’s next role will be, while Hamilton will need to re-focus without his long-term confidante at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix this weekend.