Connect with us

Formula 1

A $40M Gamble: Is Hamilton the Answer for Struggling Ferrari?



Ferrari Hamilton

Is Ferrari’s multi-million dollar pursuit of F1’s all-time greatest, Lewis Hamilton, a stroke of genius or a grand miscalculation? As the Scuderia struggles with a 15-season dry spell, this potential acquisition raises questions about Ferrari’s strategy and whether Hamilton’s star power is the solution they truly need.

It wouldn’t be judicious for Ferrari to bring Lewis Hamilton onboard; he’s not the solution they’re seeking. Procuring a driver of Hamilton’s caliber and status could never be considered erroneous, however, for Ferrari, it appears unnecessary.

Further, this intent poses serious doubts about the decision-making methods and priorities of a consistent underperformer in Formula 1.

Regardless of the seriousness of the staggering $40 million offer for Hamilton reported by the Daily Mail, this move seems impractical for Ferrari considering their current challenges.

While Hamilton’s recruitment could alleviate many issues, they aren’t the exact difficulties that Ferrari is grappling with.

With a streak of 15 seasons without a world championship, Ferrari is on the brink of equalling the record dry spell it experienced between its 1983 and 1999 constructors’ championships.

Despite this drought, the team hasn’t lacked top-tier drivers. Over the years, they’ve had the benefit of having Felipe Massa, Kimi Raikkonen, Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel, and currently, Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz.


While it can be debated that there were instances when the drivers did not maximize their potential – for instance, in 2018 when Vettel could have possibly secured a title win with Ferrari had he not committed many errors – the issues generally run deeper. Hence, the resolution does not rest with those in the driver’s seat.

Hamilton brings extensive experience, superb performance, and a celebrity status which carries commercial benefits.

However, at 38 years old, it’s hardly analogous to leveraging a 27-year-old Michael Schumacher as the cornerstone to create the future decade of the Scuderia, as Ferrari did in 1996. That situation might have been different half a decade or more ago, but it’s not the case now.

With Leclerc, Ferrari already possesses a driver around whom it can structure its future, with Sainz serving as an excellent teammate.

As tempting as a Hamilton/Leclerc duo might be, it provides limited benefits in terms of immediate impact and longevity. Moreover, this comes with a significant price tag.

Given the cost cap, there might be a rationale to justify spending a massive amount on Hamilton. Since you can’t simply outspend others to outperform due to the spending constraints, and considering that drivers’ salaries are excluded from the cap, it might seem reasonable.

However, there are countless areas where such funds could be utilized more effectively, either unrestricted or partially constrained by the cost cap.

Why not channel these resources into enhancing infrastructure, facilities, and refining operational practices? On top of any agreement with Hamilton, there would likely be additional expenditure required to release Sainz, who is contracted for the following year. Is this the most efficient use of Ferrari’s wealth?


Strategic driver changes can be crucial and there are moments when this is the missing piece that enables a team’s strengths to culminate into success. If that were the case for Ferrari, bidding for Hamilton would make sense. However, Ferrari is far from such a situation.

What’s worse is that this idea seems to be strongly influenced from the top – specifically the executive chairman John Elkann – suggesting the recurring problem of expecting a high-profile driver to be the ultimate solution.

Ego invariably plays a part in these situations. If you can secure the most successful F1 driver in history, who is still performing at, or very close to, their peak even under suboptimal conditions, what does that speak to your persuasive abilities? You can then present this acquisition to your team, sit back, and express dismay when the underperformance persists.

Moreover, one could reasonably argue that if there’s an opportunity to snatch Hamilton from Mercedes, why not seize it? Considering he’s one of the all-time greats, there is some merit to this argument, but it would hold more weight if Ferrari was in a better position.

At present, they are grappling with a restricted car concept that requires significant modifications next year to even compete with Red Bull. Realistically, it might not be until 2025 that they possess a car capable of genuinely contending for the title. At best, they could likely only offer Hamilton sporadic victories in 2024.

In such a situation, the focus should be redirected, and maintaining driver consistency could be advantageous for troubleshooting efforts. While Hamilton’s intimate familiarity with Mercedes might offer some value, Ferrari continually maintains that its weaknesses are well-known.

For Ferrari to prosper, team principal Fred Vasseur and the Gestione Sportiva need the freedom to concentrate on the task at hand with minimal external intervention.


They should be equipped with the tools, resources, and time required to do their job, all of which is better determined from within the team. It’s questionable whether a driver change is a top priority, as Hamilton’s entry into an underperforming team would only highlight its struggles even more.

All of this bears no relevance to Hamilton. If he’s being pursued by Ferrari and finds the prospect appealing, then he can certainly sign the contract.

He has nothing left to establish in F1, and if racing for Ferrari is an unfulfilled aspiration, then why not? It would also enhance F1’s appeal as high-profile drivers shifting teams always grabs headlines.

However, even if – and that’s a significant if – Hamilton is genuinely inclined to leave Mercedes for Ferrari, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the right choice for Ferrari. There are other more pressing matters they need to address.

Enlisting Hamilton not only suggests patching over the flaws but also denying their existence altogether.



  1. RWL

    23/05/2023 at 01:25

    Ferrari should abstain from signing Hamilton, as it doesn’t align with their strategic needs. Hamilton’s contributions cannot address the team’s fundamental challenges: the need for superior aerodynamics, better suspension engineering, and a competent technical director who can steer the development in the right direction.

    Regardless of who is in the driver’s seat, if the car isn’t competitive, victories will remain out of reach. Instead of investing exorbitantly in high-profile drivers nearing the end of their careers, funds would be better allocated towards enhancing engineering capabilities.

    Leclerc has demonstrated his potential to clinch a World Driver’s Championship, provided he’s given a capable vehicle.

    The Daily Mail report raises several questions. Firstly, the timing appears off, considering both Leclerc and Sainz are contracted till the end of 2024. Secondly, one might suspect this rumor could be a tactic from Hamilton’s camp to inflate his negotiation value with Mercedes.

    Hamilton is synonymous with Mercedes, and Ferrari doesn’t need him for their future plans. What they require is a significantly improved car.

  2. DR

    22/05/2023 at 22:28

    The primary focus for Ferrari should be to rectify their car’s performance issues.

    Formula 1 is indeed a manufacturer’s competition, and as such, sources like the Daily Mail might not always provide the most credible information.

    No driver, regardless of skill, can make a slow car compete with the fastest ones on the grid, which is the crux of Ferrari’s problem at present.

    The necessity of this article can be questioned, as it appears to be yet another piece that unfairly criticizes Ferrari.

    In the interest of fairness, if Vettel’s crash at Hockenheim is to be highlighted, similar incidents involving Lewis Hamilton, such as his mishap with ‘brake magic’ at Baku or his crash at Imola, should also be noted. It’s misleading to imply that Hamilton is at his peak, considering his teammate has outperformed him in qualifying 5-1 and generally appeared faster during races.

  3. James

    22/05/2023 at 20:51

    I don’t discern a notable advantage in choosing Hamilton over Leclerc. Leclerc is quick and would undoubtedly perform better with a superior car. His errors stem from taking risks because his current vehicle isn’t up to par. If equipped with a better car, Leclerc could certainly challenge Verstappen. Hamilton’s inclusion wouldn’t necessarily enable Ferrari to design a more effective car.

  4. Stef

    22/05/2023 at 20:46

    I’m not challenging the accuracy of the news story, rather I’m scrutinizing the assertions made within the article about whether Hamilton is a suitable choice for Ferrari or not. That’s why my comments focus on two specific aspects of the article – the driver’s age and the concept of constructing a team around a driver (which I consider to be a widely held misconception).

    The technical and sporting departments form the backbone of a team, with the driver being one such component. The paramount element, however, is a fast car.

    Moreover, a team will invariably back the quickest driver in their ranks, not a designated driver.

    Mercedes’ reign over the hybrid era wasn’t architected around Hamilton. The groundwork was set during 2010-2013. When Hamilton came on board, the team was already on an upward trajectory.

    Throughout his tenure with Nico, Hamilton candidly stated that he would have retired after the 2016 season due to the hostile atmosphere. His continuation was a result of Nico’s retirement and a reconciliation between Wolff and Hamilton. This wasn’t because Mercedes was built around Hamilton; that’s mere public relations narrative.

    Even now, if George demonstrates superior speed than Hamilton for another season, the team will naturally gravitate towards George.

    Ferrari’s struggles as a team are largely due to frequent changes in senior management. In contrast, Red Bull and Mercedes have experienced minimal self-imposed upheaval at the top leadership level.

  5. Giordano

    22/05/2023 at 20:42

    This whole narrative appears less credible than the recent speculation that Ferrari is recruiting Pierre Wache and Enrico Balbo from Red Bull Racing to help streamline their operations and start enhancing their vehicle. This story would have seemed more fitting as an April Fools’ Day prank.

  6. Ida

    22/05/2023 at 20:39

    Hamilton is not to blame for the 2022 Mercedes car’s design flaws; that responsibility lies with the technical team. Any faults with the vehicle are not a reflection of Hamilton’s abilities as a driver. It wouldn’t be fair to fault the Ferrari technical director when Leclerc crashed last year in France, would it?

    In the same way, Max Verstappen isn’t responsible for designing the powerhouse that is the Red Bull car; credit for that belongs to their technical department. Max’s role involves driving, adjusting the setup, and offering feedback to improve the car. He isn’t advising them to alter a specific aspect of the front or rear wing design or the underfloor. That’s the responsibility of the experts.

    A driver’s role doesn’t involve designing or building the car. They drive the vehicle and offer feedback once it’s constructed. Both George Russell and Lewis Hamilton have provided similar feedback regarding the car’s handling last year and this year as well.

    Ultimately, which driver one chooses to support in F1 is a matter of personal preference.

  7. Sixtytwo

    22/05/2023 at 20:38

    It’s certainly not far-fetched to suggest that the decisions made in 2023-2024 will have significant implications for the driver lineups in 2026. Mercedes continues to be a highly sought-after team in F1, with Red Bull being another obvious contender. Therefore, while it seems almost certain that Lewis will renew his contract, it’s likely that Mercedes is also considering their future after Lewis.

    From this perspective, it makes sense for Team LH to leak stories and apply pressure on Mercedes. It’s doubtful that Mercedes would want to pay £40 million, even if they’re keen on retaining Lewis. As many have pointed out, there’s a slew of young drivers eyeing that coveted seat. Toto Wolff, Mercedes’ Team Principal, is undoubtedly aware of this.

  8. Hughesy01

    22/05/2023 at 20:37

    Indeed, if there’s a feasible opportunity, why not seize it? Recruiting Hamilton would not only bolster your own team but also undercut a major competitor. This would not impact the cost cap and could potentially offer benefits to the development of your car, considering that Lewis might bring valuable insights from Mercedes.

    I’m not implying that it should be the main focus, but it would be remiss not to investigate all available options.

    That said, this whole speculation appears to be based on a Daily Mail report. In that case, it seems like an unnecessary diversion. If there’s a lack of substantial news, why not focus on the recent N24h Ferrari win or the happenings at COTA in the GT3 series this past weekend? At least those topics have some real substance to them.

  9. Prince

    22/05/2023 at 20:36

    This ongoing debate about a driver’s age appears perplexing. Hamilton, at 38, claims he’s in the best shape of his life. It’s conceivable to anticipate 5-7 years of solid performance from him. Turning around a team doesn’t necessitate a decade; a cycle of 3-4 years has been demonstrated by any top team (Ferrari, Red Bull, Mercedes) as sufficient.

    Alonso is currently dispelling the preconceptions about age, showing that fitness and motivation matter more than the number of years lived.

    I remember when Alonso committed to McLaren in 2014, it was labelled as his last contract given his age, around 33-34. That was 9 years ago! Now, those age-centric judgements seem misguided, considering his current performance level.

    Ageism indeed presents a substantial challenge, particularly for athletes and performing artists.

    If Hamilton and Ferrari have mutual faith in this endeavor, then this risk could be well worth taking.

    Furthermore, Leclerc, while remarkably fast and possessing superior racecraft, makes too many errors for an elite driver. The number of mistakes he commits is simply too high for a top team to endure in a championship battle.

  10. Karl

    22/05/2023 at 20:35

    A $40 million valued Sir Hamilton couldn’t outpace a $5 million valued driver, and now he contemplates partnering with Leclerc?

    A $5 million valued George Russell is overshadowing and shaming the much more expensive Lewis Hamilton. If Hamilton moves to Ferrari, he risks being outperformed to the point of irreparable damage to his reputation…

    Does Ferrari not see the risk in investing $40 million in a driver who, some argue, is overrated and frequently laments his situation?

    It’s reminiscent of scenes in movies where the wealthy character spends extravagantly for a perverse game. In this case, Ferrari is likened to buying a wild dog to put in a cage with a lion, just to watch the lion rip the wild dog apart…

    Leclerc is primed to outperform Hamilton if they become teammates at Ferrari.

  11. Christ

    22/05/2023 at 20:34

    Piero Ferrari appears to have lost confidence in Leclerc, a development that should not be shocking to anyone considering Leclerc’s three accidents in the span of eight days. Perhaps the Ferrari executives believe that recruiting Hamilton would eliminate one problematic factor from their race outcomes, specifically disastrous driving blunders. Ferrari seems to have ongoing issues with race speed, while Hamilton has consistently driven cars that are notably kind to their tires. They might speculate that his driver feedback could be influential.

    It’s rather perplexing when those who argue that Hamilton somehow conjured an extra 75 horsepower in his engine during the Brazil 2021 race through sheer determination do not believe he can contribute anything to a team whose primary driver has a higher crash rate than any of his peers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.