Hamilton: ‘Have thought about Ferrari switch…’

“I haven’t signed a contract yet, but …” teases Lewis Hamilton during the Formula 1 race weekend in Miami. The Mercedes driver does admit that he’s had thoughts about driving for Ferrari.

So Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari… would it be a good fit? The seven-time Formula One world champion’s contract with Mercedes expires at the end of the 2023 season, but although the British driver has reportedly considered a move to Ferrari in the past, it seems his future remains with the Silver Arrows.



Hamilton: “…what it would be like to drive in red?”

“I’ve been thinking about the Ferrari drivers and watching them on the screens at the track, and of course you wonder what it would be like to drive in red,” Hamilton said when asked about his contractual situation by “ESPN”. “But then I go to my team, to Mercedes, and that’s my home. I’m happy where I am. I haven’t signed a contract yet, but we are working on one.”

During the race weekend in Miami, Hamilton has already made it clear that he still plans to race in Formula One for a number of years and has also been open about still being in the premier class at the age of 50. Although the Mercedes is now unable to win for the second year in a row, there seems to be no lack of motivation.



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Hamilton wants to continue

“I have no plans to stop any time soon,” he says. “I’m not at the end of my career, I’m not in the downward spiral of my career. I’m in my prime. It all depends on how hard I want to work and how well I stay in shape physically and mentally.”

“If you look at LeBron [James] or Tom Brady, they showed that you can last as long as you put in the necessary energy and time. Right now I don’t plan to change, I just plan to increase the drive and motivation and get better. I have a tremendous drive.”


Hamilton’s contract with Mercedes nevertheless expires at the end of the season, which begs the question, how long until it is renewed?

“There’s no panic [about the contract], we’ll get there, none of us feel any pressure, we’re always honest,” Hamilton said.

“So if Toto [Wolff] talks to someone, he will tell me and vice versa. I’ve never in all my time spoken to anyone behind a team’s back to see if I can get them to raise the bar – I’ve never played that game and neither has he.”

“So we’ve always been very direct. But I think having such a close relationship sometimes makes it difficult to have tough business discussions because emotions are involved and we have to be very careful to step out of the circle, put the relationship aside and focus on the business and what’s best for both of us business-wise. But we’ve managed to find a good balance over the years.”

READ MORE: Insider advises Hamilton “get out of Mercedes”


“It’s super awkward”

The Mercedes team boss has also not really got used to negotiating with Hamilton over the years, as it is difficult to separate the emotional connection with the business. As co-owner of the racing team, every cent more for Hamilton naturally means less income for Wolff.

“It’s super embarrassing,” the Austrian says. “Every three years we know we have this moment. And it’s like negotiating financial terms with your best friend, with a close friend. How do you go about it? Normally you don’t have a situation like that.”

“I want the best for him, but in this role I need the best for the team. This can be the only time in our ten or eleven years that we are together and our goals diverge.”

“At the end of the day, it’s difficult to talk about money with a friend. Penny [Thow, Hamilton’s manager] helps with that. Penny has kept us in check and we have found a good modus operandi with her on how we talk to each other. We avoid talking to each other about money, but we both talk to Penny.”


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Career end at McLaren?

So a new contract with Mercedes seems to be just a formality and it won’t be just a one-year extension either, as the 38-year-old insists: “I’m thinking long-term,” Hamilton says. “I don’t want to stay here for just one year. I want to stay longer.”

But after ten years with the Mercedes factory team, wouldn’t he perhaps be tempted by a new challenge? Possibly a return to the early days of his Formula One career at McLaren?

Hamilton is at least leaving a back door open:

“I’d be lying if I said I never thought about ending my career somewhere else,” he says.

“I started at McLaren. I would like to think that I will always be part of the McLaren family. I started there when I was 13 [as a junior driver], so I’ve thought about what it would look like to be at McLaren one day.”


Hamilton does not rule out other series

The British driver would also not categorically rule out a move to another racing series in the future, at least: “I did a swap with [NASCAR driver] Tony Stewart years ago, that was fun. At some point I’d like to try that out.”

“I don’t think it’s a dream of mine to race in another series, but I’m an admirer and a fan of racing and other sports, so I’d always like to try it, and it’s a great opportunity to swap with Valentino Rossi, for example, and test a MotoGP bike.”

“Sometimes I watch IndyCar as well. At some point I would like to try one of those cars. I’m not a big fan of the big head protection they have, but the old-school cars they have sound and look good. But right now my focus is solely on Formula One, so I don’t plan on leaving here anytime soon.”

READ MORE: Ferrari engineer questions Vasseur appointment




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