Lewis Hamilton declines contract

Ferrari president John Elkann and team principal Frederic Vasseur have reportedly tried to poach Lewis Hamilton from Mercedes.

Reports have emerged indicating that Lewis Hamilton, out of contract with Mercedes at the end of the season, was “personally” contacted by Ferrari President John Elkann with a contract offer. 

However, the British driver “politely” declined the proposal, as revealed by Italian journalist Leo Turrini. 

Amidst the prolonged contract negotiations between Hamilton and Mercedes, various speculations have arisen regarding the reasons behind the delay.

The anticipated contract extension between Hamilton and Mercedes has been a topic of ongoing discussion, with both the driver and Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff affirming that a deal is in the works. 

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However, despite this assurance, nearly six months after the process began, no official announcement has materialised.

Throughout the wait, the media has speculated about multiple factors influencing the negotiations, including salary demands, potential ambassadorial roles, and contract duration. 

Some pundits have even suggested that Hamilton should seize the opportunity to move to Ferrari.

Former F1 team boss Eddie Jordan expressed his belief that a partnership between Hamilton and Ferrari would be a “match made in heaven,” while former driver Martin Brundle encouraged Hamilton to “go to Ferrari and do a Michael Schumacher.”

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Interestingly, Ferrari’s own efforts to secure Hamilton’s services have come to light.

According to Turrini’s blog post, President John Elkann reached out to Hamilton personally to offer a contract. 

Turrini noted, “Hamilton had been contacted personally by Elkann. I understand he politely replied ‘no thanks.’ And you can understand it (unfortunately).”

Further information from Auto Motor und Sport revealed that Elkann wasn’t the sole Ferrari representative to engage Hamilton in discussions. 

According to Michael Schmidt of the German publication, Ferrari Team Boss Fred Vasseur also approached Hamilton about joining the team, but the driver declined this offer as well.

Schmidt acknowledged, “Vasseur is rumoured to have made Hamilton an offer, I won’t deny it. 

“I think Vasseur knows well that Lewis is not going anywhere, but he also has to make sure that Ferrari show some dynamism.”

Reflecting on the ongoing saga, Schmidt added, “I also think Hamilton is quite smart. 

He knows very well that even if they pay him double in Maranello, things won’t go any better there: 

Ferrari is not ahead of Mercedes as a car. 

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And every problem at Mercedes would multiply at Ferrari because it is even more in the spotlight.”

Despite these claims, Ferrari has previously denied extending a contract offer to Hamilton. 

Earlier in the year, reports suggested that Vasseur had presented a £40 million-a-year deal to Hamilton to join Ferrari, but Vasseur vehemently denied these claims.