F1 Expert Explains the Inside Story of Lewis Hamilton to Ferrari Saga – ‘John Elkann Informally Called Lewis…’ bb

F1 Expert Explains the Inside Story of Lewis Hamilton to Ferrari Saga - “John Elkann Informally Called Lewis...”

Lewis Hamilton’s shocking switch to Ferrari raised several eyebrows in the F1 world and opened a Pandora’s box of questions. The move made people wonder why Hamilton would switch to a team he refused midway last year. Moreover, turning his back on Mercedes, where he signed a two-year contract extension only five months ago. F1 expert Lawrence Barretto has explained the inside story of how the entire negotiation that began around the 2023 Monaco GP played out and involved Ferrari CEO John Elkann.

Appearing on the F1 Nation podcast, Barretto highlighted how Elkann always wanted Hamilton to be a Ferrari driver. He told the Briton around the Monaco GP, “Lewis come to Ferrari, we want you here”. While the Mercedes driver denied it at that time, Barretto mentioned that it was only an “informal chat” back then, and later things got serious.

The F1 journalist cited that just after his Mercedes extension (which was a 1+1 year deal), Elkann informed the 39-year-old of a multi-year deal. This was in Hamilton’s ballpark, given that the Silver Arrows had not accepted his initial demand of a “three-year deal”.

Barretto stated that the seven-time champion may have felt that oddity and how the Italian team were actually willing to offer a better package to him. Elkann called him “again” and this was the time when Hamilton weighed out the possibilities. Barretto believes Hamilton may have thought about Ferrari being the bigger opportunity from all aspects.

Besides, it also gets him that coveted chance to drive in red overalls (like his idol Ayrton Senna did at McLaren), but perhaps better in a Ferrari. However, it doesn’t take away the fact that Elkann and Ferrari really went all out to sign up the British champion, beating Mercedes.

What pushed Lewis Hamilton away from Mercedes to Ferrari?

After addressing his team at Brackley, Toto Wolff opened up to the media about Lewis Hamilton’s switch. The Mercedes boss accepted that their inability to provide Hamilton with a longer-term deal may have influenced his decision to join Ferrari.

Thus, one can say that Mercedes lost the Briton due to their own shortcomings. The compromise that Hamilton made with his 1+1 year deal was always going to lead towards him parting ways with the team sooner or later, as per Wolff. Besides that, his winless campaigns in 2022 and ’23 were also probably a bone of contention.

The struggles of the last two Mercedes cars were frustrating for Hamilton. Naturally, after winning six championships with the team, the Briton is not used to such a prolonged period of struggle. There are also reports that he may have seen fewer signs of improvement at the Brackley team, which made him take the tough call.

On the other hand, there are speculations about Ferrari having found some promise too for their future performance. With a 95% change in their 2024 car, which is heavily inspired by Red Bull, Ferrari seems better placed than Mercedes.

Therefore, this may have influenced Hamilton to jump ship to Maranello, just a year before the major 2026 regulation changes. Aside from this, former Mercedes performance director Loic Serra is also joining the Prancing Horse in 2025.

It was only Serra who saw eye-to-eye with Hamilton in the new era to admit that Mercedes was on the wrong path. So, with Fred Vasseur poaching Serra, the seven-time champion may have added another point to Ferrari’s bucket on being the better team for his future.

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