Questions remain after shock Hamilton Ferrari decision

Lewis Hamilton's move to Ferrari has raised eyebrows in the Formula 1 paddock.

With Lewis Hamilton’s recent, and largely unexpected decision, to break his contract with team Mercedes at the end of the current 2024 Formula 1 race calendar, it has certainly set tongues wagging on how Mercedes will actually perform this year, and more importantly, Hamilton himself, if his heart is no longer with them.

It is not the only question that the move has sparked either. The seven time World Drivers’ Championship title winner is desperate to add an eighth to that tally to make him the clear, historic, world record winner and that brings up questions about Mercedes’ own struggles in recent years and what he feels that holds for the future, given Red Bull have now clearly taken such a significant advantage and if you bet online, Max Verstappen is now undoubtedly the safest bet possible.

With Hamilton’s initial move to Mercedes being timed to almost perfection given the success he then tasted, his move to Ferrari has also sparked questions about whether he knows something few in the wider world of Formula 1 racing does. Or maybe it could simply be, whether or not his initial talks with them ahead of signing the new contract, have given him the same kind of feeling he instantly felt with his current team, and he feels the switch will give him the best chance possible of making that historic eighth win.

And yes, as per his on record words right now to the media where he promised to give his all to Toto Wolff in their final ten odd months together, it could simply be winning is no longer as prominent in his thoughts as it was, and he simply wants to wind down the last few years of his professional career by representing the iconic red of Ferrari given their deep history and roots in the sport.

Can anyone disagree that would be a great way to go out, as it would be a phenomenal way to end your racing CV.

Whilst wild rumours and speculation about his motives continue, Fernando Alonso is one who clearly thinks that Hamilton’s move to Ferrari is an indication that he believes that they can really make a charge for the title in 2025. Whether Alonso is there for the battle remains to be seen.

“During the past few years, Ferrari had a very fast car and were fighting for big things. Maybe Lewis can bring that extra to fight for the championship. The car is there.”

To prove the car ‘is there’, the Spaniard went further by referencing the statistics shown by Ferrari in the final months and races of the last season. Ferrari did take more pole positions than Red Bull in the final five meets of the year, and in those that they did not, they were usually very, very close indeed.

“Even last year, with a very dominant Red Bull car, Ferrari were able to match the lap time and be faster than them in most of the qualifyings, so the car should be fast enough.”

It is a thought clearly held by Ferrari boss Frederic Vasseur, who is adamant that capturing someone of Hamilton’s calibre and talents presented the team with a ‘huge opportunity’ to take their own next step when it came to challenging at the top of the rankings again, and of course, Charles Leclerc’s new race partner is well known to Vasseur, as he was Hamilton’s team boss when he became champion of the GP2 junior category way back in 2006 before he graduated into Formula 1.

“We had a good relationship for a bit more than 20 years. We were always in contact and it came like this, step by step.”

One big question that has been on the minds of many following the announcement, is just what did Leclerc make of the whole idea, and given he actually signed a new long term deal earlier in the year, what did he know and when.

The Monegasque 26 year old has now spoken himself and confirmed that Ferrari had been open, honest and respectful in explaining their future plans. In knowing full well that deals like this ‘are not finalised overnight’, he was told that talks would be taking place well before he signed his own new deal so he could factor it into his own decision making, and he appreciated that Ferrari did inform him, and were so transparent, so that if a deal with Hamilton could ultimately be concluded, it would not come as an unexpected surprise to him.

He also had warm words of welcome for Hamilton given his previous race successes, knowing he can certainly learn a trick or two from him in the future, but there was also a hell of a lot of respect for current team partner Carlos Sainz, and he knew that both of them would continue giving their all for the 2024 campaign, despite the fact that changes are now on the horizon.