Toto Wolff, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, 2019

Hamilton to Ferrari rumours “blown out of proportion”

2019 Mexican Grand Prix

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Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has downplayed suggestions Ferrari could try to lure its star driver Lewis Hamilton away when his current contract expires.

Hamilton signed a new two-year deal with the team last year, which takes him up to the end of the 2020 F1 season. However the five-times world champion’s success has prompted speculation he could join Ferrari in the future.

Earlier this week a British newspaper claimed Mercedes was prepared to offer Hamilton a deal worth £40 million per season to keep him away from Ferrari. But speaking in yesterday’s FIA press conference Wolff said “this Ferrari thing has been maybe blown out of proportion.”

“Lewis has a clear opinion where he’s sees himself in the future,” he added. “We are and have always been very loyal to our drives [and] this is taking its ordinary course of business.”

The end of Hamilton’s current contract will coincide with major changes in the sport which drivers will be looking to take advantage of, said Wolff.

“[In] 2021 everything is different. The drivers, in the same way as the teams, will be looking at opportunities and their future, evaluating options that are on the table, benchmarking the teams’ performance and at the end of the day, the car’s performance is what counts the most for the top guys.

“These discussions have slowly but surely started. But I don’t see this coming to any closure in terms of 2020-2021 line-up any time soon. That will be going into the next season, is my opinion.”

Hamilton, who has started every one of his 246 F1 races with Mercedes power, said earlier this year “when you’re part of Mercedes you’re part of a family for a lifetime”. However he also pointed out he has “a good Italian following” and “a lot of Ferrari fans ask me to come to Ferrari”.

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Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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38 comments on “Hamilton to Ferrari rumours “blown out of proportion””

  1. All good and well, but it is going to happen.

  2. Lewis looking for some leverage for his next contract.

  3. Rob giacometti
    26th October 2019, 10:25

    No .! Please no! Stay away and do not bring all your politics with you!

    1. Quite right. You tell him. The Ferrari has won just about everything in the last decade because they never play politics. It’s not the Ferrari way.

  4. Well never say never but, why would Hamilton leave the no 1 team with the best leadership and arguably the best overall car? The need to drive for Ferrari to complete your racing F1 career I sort of get…maybe. But the erratic nature of their tactical decisions leave in doubt their ability to deliver a reasonable chance of winning another WDC.

    1. @johnrkh

      Agreed, he’s previously expressed how he’d LIKE to drive for Ferrari, but I don’t see him leaving Mercedes as long as that team can continue to give him a consistent car that allows him to win races and championships and without too many stategy errors from the team.

      Yes, Mercedes have dropped the ball on occasion, but their errors have been minor and few.

      He won’t go to Ferrari until the Italian team can deliver a consistent car that they don’t leave till halfway through the season to finally sort out issues on, that they can stop the screw ups and that the Ferrari can convincingly win.

      2017 and 2018 could have pursuaded him, but this year was not a good start for the Ferrari. Painfully off the pace in some races, and the one pole in the first half of the season ended up with the car suffering an issue in the race.

      Actually, 2018 and Ferrari’s decision to spend a number of months on the ‘wrong development path’ would be a good reason not to jump just yet.

    2. petebaldwin (@)
      26th October 2019, 11:24

      To challenge himself to see if he can win in a team that isn’t the best? If he wins a championship with Ferrari, it shuts down any argument as to whether he won because he’s in the best car. It’s what Vettel tried to do but he got found out. Can Hamilton do it?

      1. @petebaldwin

        Yes, it’ll shut down the arguements, but Ferrari still needs to deliver the car regardless. It’s all well if it can do it in an inferior car, but if the Ferrari was a disaster of a car and he failed to take the championship, it’d just be more of the ‘Oh he can only do it in the best car’

        Ferrari need to at least meet him halfway with the car. Look at Mclaren post his 2008 championship, the car was unreliable and cost him at lot of points and wins. (2011 was different, he made some errors that year on his own. Probably due to frustration with the car and the lack of direction)

        1. His girlfriend was too much of a distraction that year, messed with his head.

    3. What would make Lewis an even bigger champ? Exactly… doing what Alonso and Vettel couldnt do. And Lewis is van..

      1. and if he did, the same people who say he can only win in the best car will be saying the Ferrari is clearly the best car.

        And he’s already done what Alonso and Vettel couldn’t do. He’s won WDCs with two different teams.

        1. Indeed, but I guess he is still good for a third team WDC

  5. Compared to Ferrari’s internal politics and scheming Hamilton is a rank amateur, could he make things worse for the scuderia?

  6. He’ll do 2 years at Ferrari, but won’t be for another 2 WDC’s especially with Leclerc giving Seb a hard time, Ferrari are upping their game and ousting the Madonna’s and replacing with cool calculated heads.

    1. If Ferrari promise a very good car and sort out their management for 2021 by which time Hamilton will be a 7 time WDC, I think he’ll race for them then.

  7. I think it depends on if Lewis can equal Michael Schumacher’s records or not, in my opinion that is the deciding factor. At this moment in time Hamilton is the best placed driver to get to seven championships and possibly more, this is what obviously drives him. I agree that Ferrari have made some terrible decisions during grands prix, but there is no denying the fact that their car is fast and more consistant since Hungary.
    2020 is going to be a massive year in that can Ferrari build on their gains? Can they produce the kind of results that they have in the second half of this year over a whole season? We must remember that way back in 2012, Hamilton joining Mercedes from McLaren looked a risky move. Many people questioned Lewis’ decision, some even suggested it might ruin his career.
    In my opinion Hamilton is keeping his options open, nothing more. If he becomes the most successful F1 driver of all time whilst driving for Mercedes, beating the legendary Michael Schumacher, maybe the lure of driving for Ferrari may tempt him. Lewis being Lewis though, he will not be happy with just the seven championships.
    There is also Charles Leclerc and Sebastien Vettel to consider, and who would replace Hamilton at Mercedes. Lewis will soon be 35 years old, not exactly Raikkonen territory but he is getting there. One feels that if a Hamilton/Ferrari partnership were to happen, it has to happen in the next couple of years or it will not happen at all.

    1. You dont have to shout ;-)

    2. @The Limit As per your last sentence, I would then say LH to Ferrari won’t happen at all. As I see it, the top drivers particularly will put themselves in a holding pattern until through 2021 so that they can see which is the team to beat under the completely new regs. They wouldn’t want to move and risk moving away from the team that just nailed the new regs. So they’ll all be with their current teams for the start of 2021.

      That said I’ll just add a couple of factors. The new regs overall are meant to bring the teams and the cars closer. In other words there may not be a clear team at which all drivers would want to be such as Mercedes has been for so long. Perhaps the top three teams will be so close and the cars able to race so closely that there will be a genuine season long battle and not one particular runaway point getter.

      The other factor is that at any point, as the teams see fit, they may make a driver change as contracts run out and allow for that, even if a driver would prefer to stay and see how his current team does in 2021 before making a move.

      Wrt LH, he’d be a fool to leave now when they may well dominate again next year. Then as I suggest, he’d be best advised to stick around Mercedes for 2021 to see how they stack up then, and only then should he consider a move if Mercedes is no longer going to do it for him. But I could also see him sticking it out with his family and taking up the challenge of putting Mercedes back on top if indeed they were to lag in 2021.

    3. I agree, I think that if he wins the championship this year and in 2020 then he may well roll the dice with Ferrari on a one year contract for 21 if they have signs of having a competitive car, especially if he is a few races short of Schumacher’s total wins record.

      In most other scenarios I think he’ll retire

      The fly in that ointment of a Ferrari move is LeClerc who will likely be unwilling to play second fiddle and will be in his third year of integrating into the team.

  8. I mean, he’d be a fool to leave Mercedes but given Toto’s insistence it won’t happen… that means it probably will?

    I think it’d be kinda interesting to see Hamilton at Ferrari, and whether he could deliver what Alonso and Vettel couldn’t – and whether he’d beat Leclerc. In fact, winning a championship with three different teams, two different engines and with two of the biggest names in the sport’s history AND matching or surpassing Schumacher’s tally… he’d be unquestionably the most successful driver in history.

    1. Like he was a fool leaving Mclaren? 😊

      1. Let’s consider the wording of the first sentence of the above article. Dieter and Keith state that TW is downplaying that Ferrari could try to lure LH away from Mercedes. Said that way, I have no doubt, and I think Ferrari would be fools to not at least try to lure LH away. They wouldn’t be doing their jobs, their due diligence, if they weren’t checking in with LH at appropriate times just to make absolutely sure of his intentions. You don’t ask, you certainly don’t get. Ferrari trying to lure, and LH actually accepting, are two entirely different things.

  9. Very true. Let’s be honest, most of us want to see Hamilton in a Ferrari at some stage. Just like we all did when Alonso was rumoured to be going there, or Michael, and ofcourse Vettel. It would be a great thing for F1 as a sport for it to happen, and for Ferrari as an organization.

  10. Clinch the 7th next year and then take the 8th at Ferrari. But in 2024, so Max can get 3 WDC first with Honda RB

  11. Yes true. Off the top of my head I think its only Fangio who has WDCs with more than 2 teams (4)

    1. That was in reply to Mayrtron

  12. LH may possibly move to Ferrari, but he will also bring the best mechanics and technical staff with him, or he will stipulate this into his agreement, or I suspect no deal. Keep that in mind.

  13. He’ll definitely want to join Ferrari in 2021 because that it what Senna always wanted to do.
    Whether they’ll be a seat available I’m not sure, but that depends a lot on what happens next season. I could easily see Vettel at Mercedes in 2021 and Hamilton joining Leclerc at Ferrari, but who knows.

    1. @john-h You don’t think, as I do, that he’d want to make sure first that for the drastic rules changes for 2021 he wouldn’t be leaving a team that would still be the ones to beat? I think if I were him or any of the top drivers I wouldn’t want to risk moving away from a team that might nail the new regs. Isn’t it better to stand pat and see first what 2021 brings?

      1. Yes, Lewis is a big fan of Senna. Clearly he would rather emulate his idol than just attempt to beat Schumi’s records.

  14. Mark in Florida
    26th October 2019, 15:17

    Lately Ferrari has been the team where world champions go to kill their legend. kimi , Alonso, Vettle, have all fell victim to the mystic of Ferrari. This is not the same championship team that ran the table in the early 2000. Back then a little British guy named Ross Brawn was running the show along with Jean Todt , Rory Byrne, and others who were not necessarily Italian. Ferrari has turned into a soap opera, a constant comedy of tragic errors that kill hope and the dreams of aspiring champions and ruin the careers of the current one. Why would Lewis want to go to this mess?

  15. Doesn’t he already drive for Ferrari?.. (around Los Angeles)

    Always thought that might be sending as message..

    1. @Somewhat related, I’m disappointed that Ferrari (And Lewis) won’t be showing up on Hollywood Blvd next Thursday.
      Should be fun watching, and listening to Max, Valtteri and Dano doing donuts outside the Disney Theater.

  16. Lol tifosi begging for a driver of Hamiltons level To come to ferrari, well maybe you should have resigned Alonso in 2017 instead of kimi

    1. Indeed, you want a driver of hamilton’s caliber? Get alonso before he gets too old!

  17. When was the last time a driver won a championship in a car that wasn’t the fastest? The last one I can think of is Prost in ’86. The point is that Hamilton’s legacy is secure and there is no reason to go to Ferrari. It was pretty obvious when Vettel was winning championships that it was all the car. He had serious troubles with his hack of a teammate Webber and then was completely outclassed by a guy that is having trouble staying ahead of the mediocre at best Hulkenberg. That is not the case with Hamilton though. The guy is obviously the class of the field until Verstappen takes over.

    1. You can make a case for 94-95 benettons and 08 mclaren.

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