Hamilton Ferrari Cultural Shift

Hamilton to Embrace the Ferrari Tifosi Spirit


As Lewis Hamilton transitions from Mercedes to Ferrari, insiders like Rob Smedley shed light on the cultural adjustments and the passion that fuels Ferrari’s unique environment.

Will Lewis Hamilton experience a cultural shock moving from Mercedes F1 to Ferrari, an Italian team?

Some believe so, like Mika Hakkinen, for example (see our article).

Former key engineer for Ferrari, notably with Felipe Massa, Rob Smedley, a British national, is perhaps better positioned to assess the difficulty of this team change – which is also a cultural change.

Smedley (who also worked for Jordan and Williams F1) is thus quite reassuring for Lewis Hamilton: the shock will be less intense than expected, he assured Planet F1.

“I didn’t experience a cultural shock.”

“Yes, the culture is really different. But what made me stay so long, what was very, very positive – was the passion.”

So, wouldn’t passion be synonymous with too much pressure at Maranello?

“Formula 1 is tough. I think that’s a very simple statement, but if you want to excel in F1, you have to give it 110% every day when you wake up.”

“What the passion of the fans does, or what the passion of the Ferrari community does for you, is that it gives you the energy needed to achieve it.”

“If you want to personify how passion manifests, it’s in the form of huge support.”

“When things don’t go well, the fans are very happy to tell you, to your face. They never hesitate to do so. But you always have their support.”

“That’s the passion of the tifosi… that’s how it manifests.”

For Smedley, can Lewis Hamilton thus become the new favorite of the tifosi, ahead of Charles Leclerc and on the same level as Michael Schumacher?

“Lewis is a driver who will thrive perfectly in this environment.”

“He has a duty to himself and to his employer, that of integrating as much as possible, of blending into the community. If he can learn to speak a bit of Italian, they will love him. But whatever he does, if he commits 100%, he will receive 100% in return.”

“That’s probably the difference between Ferrari and the rest of the world. It’s not just about being a British team or otherwise, I think it’s between Ferrari and all the other teams.”

But for Lewis Hamilton to enter into Italian legend, he must of course win a title… Yet Red Bull seems invincible today.

“It’s going to be very interesting. Ferrari now has the second-best car for some years. If you look at the speed at which they developed this car at the end of last year, it was impressive.”

“Okay, Red Bull eased off to focus on 2024, but if you look at the gap, especially in the qualifiers in Bahrain, Ferrari is right there, at their level.”

“As to whether Lewis in a Ferrari today could beat Max in a Red Bull, that’s another question. But he didn’t win seven world championships by being lucky. He did it because he’s one of the greatest of all time. I think someone like Lewis can give Ferrari those one or two extra percentage points – that’s all they need.”

Charles Leclerc will, of course, appreciate this last statement from Smedley…

Hamilton Ferrari Cultural Shift. Hamilton Ferrari Cultural Shift


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