Lewis Hamilton at Ferrari: Good for F1?

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Photo Credit: Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 team

Seven time world champion Lewis Hamilton’s contract with Mercedes is set to expire at the end of the 2023 season, and at the time of writing, no extension has been agreed between the British driver and the Brackley based team.

When a driver possessing the capabilities – and indeed marketing potential – of Hamilton is in such a position, this basically amounts to blood in the water for other teams with championship aspirations. In this case, if the rumours are to be believed, Ferrari are the shark currently circling the metaphorical raft Hamilton is currently astride. But what could such a move mean for the sport? And would it be positive for the world of F1?

First of all what it means is if Ferrari do indeed make a swoop for Hamilton, one of their drivers will have to find a new seat. Both Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz are under contract until the end of 2024 which also means that Ferrari will have to terminate the contract early to make room for an incoming Hamilton, likely paying out the remainder of the contract to whoever departs – think Daniel Ricciardo when he left McLaren.

One would think it is most likely that Sainz would be the one to leave Maranello, certainly based on recent reports.

However could Leclerc use the opportunity to try his luck with a different team? After Ferrari torpedoing his title hopes last year and failing to produce a worthy title contending car this year, perhaps he might swap the hills of Maranello for the green fields surrounding Brackley?

Photo Credit: Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team

It would be very big news indeed if Hamilton did make the swap as it would mean and end to one of the longest running partnerships in the sport after 11 seasons in the works team, while at McLaren they were engine providers and of course at age 13 he was signed to the McLaren Mercedes Young Driver Support Programme by Ron Dennis.

Since then he has amassed accolades beyond belief and has become a huge brand in his own right, transcending the sport on the world stage like no other driver before or since. Long before Netflix’s Drive to Survive made household names to the rest of the grid who may have been previously unknown to the average person, Lewis Hamilton was a global superstar. He in fact might be the second biggest brand in Formula One, second only to Ferrari.

Lack of success or not in recent times, Ferrari and F1 go hand in hand and are the team people most associate with the sport, even if it has been 15 years since they won a constructors’ title. To combine the brands of Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari would be, from a marketing perspective, an absolute coup for the Scuderia.