Vasseur: Hamilton’s arrival to Ferrari F1 “has nothing to do with Sainz” and his performance

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Many people have classified Lewis Hamilton’s team change as the signing of the decade. For many years, whenever Lewis Hamilton was seen he was associated with Mercedes, this was because the British driver was the face of the team, and with good reason. Hamilton achieved his first world championship in 2008 with McLaren-Mercedes, while from the 2014 season until 2020 (except 2016) he did so only with the German manufacturer. It was undoubtedly an iconic era within the highest category of motorsport.

First it was announced that Ferrari had decided to extend Charles Leclerc’s contract, and as rumors began to circulate, finally the Maranello team announced that Lewis Hamilton will join Ferrari from 2025 as its second starting driver and as teammate of the Monegasque driver. Now Ferrari enters the 2025 season as the team that is ready to beat Red Bull on the basis of its driver line-up.

Although this news was liked by many people, for many it was something totally unexpected. The seven-time World Champion leaving Brackley for Maranello is something that was not expected.

But for this to happen, Ferrari’s team principal, Fred Vasseur, has commented that he had to make particular phone calls, which he has classified as extremely difficult.

“[Calling Sainz] was not the easiest call of my life. One of them [that] was the most difficult, with the one with Toto.

“But I’m fully convinced that he’s a very professional driver, that he understands that we have a long season in front of us, that is a huge opportunity.

Photo Credit: Scuderia Ferrari

“We had a long discussion as you can imagine, but I will be fully supportive with Carlos, he is fully committed and we know that we have to do the job together. We are together, we are professional.

“[The arrival of Hamilton] is a huge opportunity for the team, for sure. We are sure that it will bring us a decent step for the future. It will be a good challenge for everybody,” Vasseur stated. “But we want to be focused on 2024, we don’t want to have any kind of distraction. It’s also why we made the announcement so early, because it was important for us to be focused on 2024.”

Although the Spanish driver was the only Grand Prix winner during the 2023 season who was not a Red Bull driver, Ferrari has decided to not extend his contract so that the seven-time world champion can take his place within the Italian team. Fred Vasseur has commented that this decision has nothing to do with the performance that the Spaniard had during his period with the Italians.

“I think for the team, the opportunity of Lewis is something that you have to consider in any case. He has the biggest promise of the field, he’s the guy with the biggest experience and it’s a huge opportunity for us. It has nothing to do with Carlos.”

“Carlos did a great job last year. I’m sure that he will do a great job this year. He’s very focused, we had a very good personal relationship. But it is like it is, we have to be focused on the future.”