Are Ferrari trying to sign Lewis Hamilton for next year? It certainly seems that way with reports emerging from the UK and Italy suggesting that a move is either being considered by Ferrari’s upper management or, an offer could already have been made with the sum in question being at 40 million pounds.
With Mercedes struggling for a second consecutive season and Hamilton currently out of contract at the end of this year, could the appeal of donning the red of Ferrari before he retires be too strong to ignore? As well as exploring if a case can really be made for Hamilton to ditch Mercedes after 11 incredible years together, we’ll also look at what this move would tell us about how Ferrari’s big bosses are going about trying to fix the team’s problems.
Right now there’s no concrete evidence for Hamilton to swap Mercedes for Ferrari as both teams have some form of shortcomings relative to Red Bull. They’ve both got things wrong this year and Red Bull has left them both in their dust. Despite Ferrari making a much better start with the new regulations in 2022, they’ve taken a step backwards this year, while Mercedes are also yet to make a significant stride forward. It’s hard to make a strong case that Ferrari is in a better position to address its deficits and close the gap in a way that Mercedes can’t, so as far as Hamilton should be concerned, Ferrari doesn’t really offer a short or medium step forward relative to Mercedes.
This isn’t the same like when Hamilton spotted the perfect opportunity to jump ship from McLaren to Mercedes over a decade ago. Currently, Ferrari is hardly a slam dunk improvement, but it’s also no worse than what Hamilton has now. So there can be a change in the competitive dynamic for the multiple word champion. Until recently, Mercedes has always looked to be a better bet than Ferrari. When Mercedes was the best competitive choice for Hamilton, any emotional or romantic argument made for moving to Ferrari was barely even a footnote, but it could be a much more significant factor now.
Things could shift further in Ferrari’s favor over the next couple of months, if Mercedes yet again fails to make a substantial step forward, and if they can’t offer proof that they can really get on top of the rule changes, and can actually catch Red Bull. That’s what Mercedes really needs to prove to Hamilton to show him that everything they have achieved in the past can be achieved again, especially if Ferrari start to make proper gains.
However, looking at the two teams, Mercedes seem like it needs a bigger technical reset than Ferrari does. Should Hamilton begin to think that Mercedes aren’t ever going to get their act together, the allure of driving for Ferrari might be something the silver arrows might need to start worrying about. Of course Hamilton may feel that his loyalty trumps all, and he may leave his legacy with the three pointed star, which is the only manufacturer he’s ever been associated with.
Ferrari is almost certainly the only team other than Mercedes that Hamilton would want to drive for. He has previously expressed ‘’It would have been great If I could have driven for Ferrari at some point’’. Given all he has achieved in his career, he wouldn’t leave F1 with huge regrets if he never drives for Ferrari, but there’s always that ‘’what if?’’ element, and that’s what the lawyers at Ferrari would be hoping for, if they’re even remotely serious about all these rumors.
From a sporting perspective, it might be tantalizing that Hamilton is the driver to finally lead Ferrari to glory, chasing their Michael Schumacher winning days. However, this raises big questions about Ferrari’s mindset within Formula 1. Signing a driver of Hamilton’s quality could never be considered a bad move, but in Ferrari’s current circumstances, it makes little sense.
Since Ferrari’s last constructor’s title in 2008 their failure to win any more championships hasn’t really been down to its drivers. You could make a case that Sebastian Vettel made too many errors in 2018, but beyond that, Ferrari simply hasn’t produced any championship worthy cars. They came close twice with Fernando Alonso but at the time he was always fighting against the odds and against the faster Red Bulls. Coupled with what Ferrari already have in 25 year old Charles Leclerc, the Scuderia has one of the fastest drivers in F1 with youth on his side. Remember that Lewis Hamilton is now 38.
Charles is still building a team around him and any move for Hamilton would be a short term solution, which would just increase the pressure at Ferrari to even more unbearable levels that the team usually has to put up with. It’s hard to make a case for why Ferrari should put considerable time, effort and of course, money into signing Lewis Hamilton when Ferrari could just spend the money on trying to improve their facilities and ultimately their cars. It’s to be noted however that driver contracts and salaries are not part of the current cost cap in F1.
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