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Hamilton Ferrari Transfer

Hamilton’s Ferrari Move: Fantasy Turns Reality

01/02/2024

Long considered a mere fantasy, Hamilton’s switch to Ferrari has shocked the F1 world, transforming rumors into a stunning reality.

Hamilton to Ferrari: In recent years, it seemed like a fantasy, a tall tale, or just background noise, depending on who you asked.

Yet, as of this crazy Thursday in the transfer market, Hamilton to Ferrari is a done deal.

F1 fans had every reason to believe, however, that this shocking transfer would never materialize. For over a decade, Hamilton to Ferrari was an old tune that never seemed serious. Hence, the immense surprise that has gripped the F1 world.

November 2023: when Christian Horner announced Hamilton-Red Bull discussions

Surprisingly, it’s important to remember that the latest rumors about Lewis Hamilton suggested a move to… Red Bull.

It was Christian Horner who dropped this little bombshell, just before the final Grand Prix of the year in Abu Dhabi, claiming that Lewis Hamilton had “contacted” Milton Keynes for a transfer.

However, Horner reportedly replied that the team did not envision a cohabitation with Max Verstappen.

“He also met with John Elkann. I think there were serious discussions. It was around Monaco (in May). There were definitely conversations, maybe also with Vasseur. But most certainly with Elkann,” Christian Horner also stated at that time.

However, the Hamilton camp was quick to vehemently deny the rumor – something Mercedes interpreted as an attempt by Christian Horner, the close friend of Toto Wolff, to destabilize.

May 2023: The Hamilton-Elkann Meeting on Everyone’s Mind

Yet, Horner was right about one thing: the Hamilton-Elkann meeting.

Before this Red Bull mini-episode, delays surrounding Lewis Hamilton’s contract extension at Mercedes indeed sparked rumors of a move to Ferrari.

At the heart of these rumors was something substantial: a meeting between Lewis Hamilton and John Elkann (the head of Ferrari) in Monaco last May.

Toto Wolff himself acknowledged the reality of the meeting between the two men, although he downplayed it: “Some time ago, Lewis told me ‘I saw John Elkann at a dinner, but just so you know, I’m not going anywhere.’ And when the media wrote about his discussions with Ferrari, he repeated ‘Toto, I’m not negotiating with anyone.’ There was never any doubt in my mind. And then we also have George [Russell] for two more seasons, who is the future of this team and the next generation after Hamilton, who grew up with Mercedes. We’re happy.”

As early as last May, when rumors of the meeting were emerging, Lewis Hamilton also denied any interest in moving to Ferrari in these terms: “I’ve been with Mercedes since 2013, and we hit it off right away. It’s a family. Toto has never told me I had to change in any way. He has always accepted me for who I am. That means a lot to me.”

Yet, it took a while for Lewis Hamilton to admit the reality of this meeting with Elkann, as even last spring, he was denying everything to L’Équipe! “When you’re in negotiations, there’s always speculation. I don’t even know where this story with Ferrari and John Elkann comes from.”

Eventually, Lewis did extend his contract with Mercedes at the end of the year, for two seasons (one of which apparently an option, as we learn today). There was, therefore, every reason to think that the Ferrari-Hamilton rumor would fade away!

But maybe this transfer for 2025 had been discussed during that famous meeting last May… who knows?

2021: Hamilton Found it ‘Surprising’ He Never Drove for Ferrari

The years 2020-2021 were relatively quiet regarding the Hamilton-Ferrari rumors.

In September 2021, Lewis Hamilton seemed to nearly concede that he would never drive for Scuderia Ferrari, particularly during the Monza Grand Prix.

In front of the tifosi, the Mercedes driver had effectively acknowledged this impossibility…

“For years, every time I come to Monza and see the fans, I hear them say ‘come to Ferrari!’ It warms my heart… But it’s quite surprising that I’ve never driven for Ferrari after so many years. Because it’s a dream for everyone, a goal to achieve. It was never really possible, and I’ll never really know why.”

In November 2020, he stated that he had discussed “on several occasions” during his career the possibility of joining Ferrari, but “never progressed beyond understanding the options on the table.”

And he added: “Our positions never aligned, and I think things always happen for a reason. Honestly, in recent years, my contract always ended in different years from other drivers.”

2019: Hamilton Driving Up the Price?

However, in December 2019, rumors of another Elkann-Hamilton meeting (or even two) were intensifying.

Louis Camilleri, a senior director at Scuderia, had also confirmed these rumors, albeit downplaying them: “They were a bit exaggerated… Yes, they discussed but nothing was organized for it. It happened in the context of a social event. Our chairman and Lewis Hamilton have mutual friends.”

It must be said that throughout 2019, Lewis Hamilton was quite evasive or open about the possibility of a move to Ferrari. In May 2019, he stated the following: “Now, I’ve been in the Mercedes fold since I was 13 years old. It’s very hard to imagine myself elsewhere. Am I thinking about going somewhere else? At the moment I have made no plans for the future.”

These statements had possibly led to two meetings between Hamilton and Elkann. But perhaps more than anything, for Lewis Hamilton, it was about driving up the price on his contract extension with Mercedes.

Summer 2017: Hamilton Had No Plan…

The year 2018 saw a lull in Hamilton-Ferrari rumors… But not 2017.

Especially at the British Grand Prix, whispers had again surfaced.

Yet again, quickly dismissed by Lewis Hamilton, who asserted he “had no plan to go to Ferrari.”

But the Mercedes driver then added this: “Then again, Ferrari… I’m a big fan of the brand, they have a fantastic team but I love my current team. The atmosphere is incredible and we have something like 1800 people working to build two Formula 1 cars. It’s quite amazing. I love this environment and the work that happens here…”

“Ferrari is definitely a dream for all drivers, including myself… Whether I’ll be there one day or not… I definitely think not, at least not in the next 4 years, or the next three.”

2013: What if Hamilton Had Signed with Ferrari Instead of Mercedes?

Between 2013 and 2017, given the incredible success of Mercedes during the hybrid era, Lewis Hamilton wasn’t contemplating a departure to Ferrari.

Yet, at the end of 2012, instead of signing with Mercedes after leaving McLaren, could Lewis Hamilton have joined Ferrari?

Lewis Hamilton admitted a few years later that there had been discussions, but “they didn’t last long.”

“It was an option in the past, when I was changing teams, but I don’t think about it anymore… I would say that with Ferrari, the chances of going there weren’t very high,” Lewis Hamilton then shared.

Did Helmut Marko Get It Right?

Thus, it’s clear that after all these rumors, the paddock had stopped believing in this news.

Yet, there was one who believed: Helmut Marko.

In May 2023, the Doctor explained why, in his opinion, the Mercedes driver would soon don the red suit…

“There are two things that really bother Hamilton. First, that he is no longer the world champion and that it will be hard for him to become one again in the future… He knows there’s no room for him at Red Bull. He will see how his Mercedes evolves. If it performs better, he will have an easier choice. Otherwise… As for whether a Ferrari would be better for him from a sporting perspective, it’s not set in stone. The second thing is that Lewis is anything but happy about no longer being the highest-paid driver in Formula 1. That’s Max Verstappen now. At least, he could change that with Ferrari’s help.”

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