Hamilton in Ferrari: Logical Choice or Driven By Passion?

The quiet time in Formula 1 lasted just over a month. Then, something exciting happened that got every fan talking again: Lewis Hamilton announced a long-term deal with Ferrari. The 7-time World Champion will start racing for Ferrari in 2025, taking Carlos Sainz’s place and joining Charles Leclerc on the team.

How the negotiations between Hamilton and Ferrari developed

I’ll start by saying that I never thought Hamilton would join Ferrari, mostly because of his age. It seemed like the easiest choice for Lewis would be to finish his F1 career with Mercedes, where he’s spent most of his racing life and would likely become an ambassador after retiring. But it looks like that’s not going to happen…

We first noticed something unusual in the driver market by watching the different timing of negotiations at Ferrari with Leclerc and Sainz. Leclerc was quickly given a new contract on Thursday, January 25, but Sainz was left waiting for a renewal that never came.

By Stephen Smith

It turns out this delay was linked to ongoing talks with Hamilton. We had assumed Hamilton was off the market because of his two-year contract with Mercedes for 2024 and 2025. However, as confirmed by Toto Wolff, this deal was actually a “1+1” contract, meaning it was for one season with an option to renew for another year. When Hamilton decided not to take this option, he freed himself up for 2025 and, on February 1, officially accepted Ferrari’s offer.

According to rumors, Hamilton’s contract with Ferrari will start at 60 million per year, with various bonuses and image rights likely bringing the total to around 100 million per season. This means Hamilton will become the highest-paid driver in Formula 1 again, a title he previously lost to Max Verstappen when Verstappen renewed his contract with Red Bull.

Hamilton’s move to Ferrari has also stirred up excitement in the world of sports betting 1xBet offers. With such a significant change, betting odds for the upcoming seasons will likely shift dramatically. Bookmakers will need to reassess Ferrari’s chances of winning races and championships with Hamilton behind the wheel. Bettors might see new opportunities for high-stakes wagers, particularly if they believe Hamilton and Ferrari will quickly become a dominant force.

What scenarios open up alongside Charles Leclerc?

One puzzling thing about Ferrari’s latest moves is that they put Charles Leclerc at the center of their plans, only to then sign Lewis Hamilton, a 7-time World Champion, as his teammate. This makes things tougher for Leclerc because it would have been easier for him to be the clear number one driver if Ferrari had signed someone less high-profile or kept Carlos Sainz.

Many people think having two strong drivers like Leclerc and Hamilton on the same team might cause problems, especially if the car is good enough for them to compete for the World Championship. I don’t agree with this because Formula 1 drivers don’t get to where they are by just being as good as their teammates. They always want to be the best, even if they’re not fighting for a championship.

Some drivers do push themselves a bit harder when they have a shot at being World Champion, but history shows us that rivalries can be fierce even without a title on the line. For example, at Ferrari, we had Leclerc and Sainz competing hard in 2023 and Vettel and Leclerc in 2019. Other examples include Perez and Ocon at Force India and Button and Perez at McLaren in 2013.

The 2024 season will let us see how Leclerc and Hamilton prepare for the following year. Hamilton will need time to adapt to Ferrari, a very different team from the ones he’s raced with since 2007. Meanwhile, Leclerc will be getting ready for his seventh season with Ferrari and will be well-adjusted to the team’s environment by then.

What does Hamilton mean for the Prancing Horse (and vice versa)?

To figure out if Lewis Hamilton’s choice to join Ferrari was driven by his heart or his head, we need to consider what Ferrari means to him and vice versa.

For anyone lucky enough to have the talent and money to get into F1, Ferrari has always been seen as the ultimate team to drive for. The history of F1 is full of amazing drivers who became fan favorites just for driving a Ferrari, even if they never won a World Championship. Gilles Villeneuve and Jean Alesi are great examples of this.

Even someone like Lewis Hamilton isn’t immune to Ferrari’s charm. But switching teams at 39 (or 40 when he starts) is a big decision with lots of consequences. Hamilton isn’t joining Ferrari just to get a few pole positions and win a few races—he already has 103 wins. He’s going there to win his eighth World Title, which he feels he can’t do with Mercedes anymore. So, his time with Mercedes, which has brought a lot of trophies, is coming to an end.

Thinking about this goal, it’s likely that Ferrari’s Team Principal, Frederic Vasseur (who has worked with Hamilton before he entered F1), has promised him good technical support, especially for 2026 when the Power Units’ regulations will change a lot. Ferrari is focusing a lot of their efforts on this upcoming technical shift.

Now, what does Hamilton bring to Ferrari?

Hamilton isn’t just a successful driver; he’s also a stylist, musician, entrepreneur, activist, philanthropist, and more. He’s a well-rounded figure who goes beyond Formula 1. In this way, his joining Ferrari can be seen as a big partnership between two global icons. For example, when the news of Hamilton joining Ferrari came out, Ferrari’s stock prices went up, adding about 7 billion euros in value. Considering Hamilton’s rumored salary, this increase is like having enough money to pay him for 70 seasons!

Setting aside these important financial aspects, there are technical changes to think about too. Less than a day after the announcement, there were talks about key Mercedes people close to Hamilton possibly moving to Ferrari. This includes Peter Bonnington (his race engineer) and Andrew Shovlin (currently the Trackside Engineering Director for Mercedes). If these moves happen, along with the arrival of Loic Serra at Ferrari in 2024, we could see a very strong Ferrari team in place by 2026.

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