Just over a week ago, Ferrari confirmed that Charles Leclerc would remain with the team for “several more seasons” when his current contract expires at the end of this season.
Last weekend, RaceFans readers were asked whether you believed Leclerc will one day win the Formula 1 world championship in a Ferrari. Almost two-thirds of you said ‘no’, you do not feel that Leclerc will win a title while driving for Ferrari.
Since then, it’s fair to say that the dynamic of Ferrari’s future has changed rather dramatically. On Thursday, Mercedes announced that Lewis Hamilton would leave the team at the end of this year after 12 seasons and six championships with them. Then, Ferrari confirmed that Hamilton would indeed be joining them for the start of the 2025 season on a multi-year contract.
As Hamilton’s first race in the scarlet colours of Ferrari will be after he has turned 40 years old, it seems likely this could be the start of the final chapter in his historic career. But as he hunts for another world championship title to separate himself from Michael Schumacher and stand alone, the question must now be asked; will he be able to win the title in a Ferrari?
Although Mercedes have struggled to keep up with rivals Red Bull or even Ferrari in recent seasons, Hamilton’s performance in 2023 – in which he finished third in the championship – proved that he remains just as capable of competing for the ultimate prize as ever.
As Fernando Alonso has shown, truly great drivers can continue to perform at an extremely high level even into their early forties. There is no reason to expect that Hamilton, with his record of success, will not be able to continue at that level over the coming years.
The only question is if Ferrari are capable of providing him with a car capable of doing so. Leclerc and Hamilton both clearly buy into team principal Frederic Vasseur’s vision for the future of the team. Hamilton famously made a bold decision to move teams from McLaren to Mercedes which paid off handsomely. With Ferrari continue to rebuild, perhaps he knows this is his best chance of getting a championship-worthy car before he retires?
As much success as Hamilton has enjoyed in his career, it’s fair to point out how he is currently suffering a win drought that has lasted over two years. And until the opening round of the season in Bahrain in under four weeks’ time, there’s currently no reason to be sure Mercedes will be fighting for wins again.
No one can be sure that Hamilton has not regressed in his abilities since his championship years. Similarly, Ferrari are currently a team building for the future. But it takes a long time to get all the parts together to become a title winning team – especially in the modern budget cap era.
Then there’s the biggest obstacle: Red Bull and Max Verstappen. Even if Ferrari do prove to be the strongest competitors to the champions over the next few years, it would be foolish to assume that Red Bull will lose their advantage and give up ground to the opposition, even into the new power unit formula in 2026. That could be too much for even Hamilton to overcome.
Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and
No matter what comes of it, Hamilton in a Ferrari is an exciting enough prospect to make even the most cynical of Formula 1 fans excited. Like Zinedene Zidane signing with Real Madrid or Terrell Owens joining the Philadelphia Eagles, there’s always something thrilling about seeing one of the best sportspeople in the world joining one of the most iconic teams in sport.
However, it’s hard to overstate the challenge that lies ahead for Hamilton in his quest to win a title with Ferrari. Not only is he at the mercy of the Scuderia’s ability to produce a championship-worthy car – something they have failed to do for well over a decade now – but he has to be able to beat an extremely fast and extremely motivated Charles Leclerc to do so.
Leclerc has more time available to him than Hamilton. As Maranello continues to poach technical talent from other teams and grow in line with Vasseur’s vision for the team, it could be that Hamilton joins Ferrari as they begin their ascension up the mountain but may not be there in time for them to reach the top.
But the more obvious reason why he might fail to achieve what will likely be the final goal of his career is that Max Verstappen will just be too unstoppable to beat. The three-times world champion has looked untouchable since Hamilton lost the 2021 title to him in the most infuriating of circumstances and even if Ferrari can build a challenger to go toe-to-toe with Red Bull, beating Verstappen is still an extremely difficult challenge.
For those reasons, it feels like Hamilton is more likely to be disappointed in his quest to win a title for the Scuderia than he is to succeed. But many commenters doubted his move to Mercedes from McLaren all those years ago and it was likely the single greatest driver move in the sport’s history. If there’s anyone who can prove this wrong, it’s Lewis Hamilton.
Do you think Lewis Hamilton can win a world championship with Ferrari? Vote in our poll and have your say in the comments below.
Will Lewis Hamilton win a world championship with Ferrari?
- Yes (27%)
- No (73%)
Total Voters: 174
A RaceFans account is required in order to vote. If you do not have one, register an account here or read more about registering here. When this poll is closed the result will be displayed instead of the voting form.
Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and
Debates and polls
- Which F1 drivers will beat their team mates in 2024?
- Has anyone caught Red Bull? 20 questions for the 2024 Formula 1 season
- Which F1 team has the best livery in 2024?
- Does F1 now need rules to reverse the rise of colourless cars?
- Will Leclerc’s dream of winning the world championship at Ferrari ever come true?