Fateful call: Ferrari boss opens up on brutal Carlos Sainz phone call and ‘Difficult’ conversation with Mercedes chief Toto Wolff about Lewis Hamilton. bb

Ferrari’s team principal has opened up on the phone conversation when he told Carlos Sainz that Lewis Hamilton would replace him.

Frederic Vasseur made the agonising call to dispose of Sainz from 2025 despite his three good seasons with the Prancing Horse so far.

Hamilton, 39, will drive one more season with his beloved Mercedes before getting behind the wheel in the iconic red livery of Ferrari on a multi-year deal, as revealed earlier this month.

Vasseur had a testing talk with Sainz but claimed it was even harder delivering the news to Mercedes head honcho Toto Wolff.

‘It was not the easiest call of my life,’ he said of telling Sainz. ‘But the one that was most difficult was the one with Toto.’

Ferari team principal Frederic Vasseur says his conversation with Carlos Sainz was 'not the easiest call of my life'

Ferari team principal Frederic Vasseur says his conversation with Carlos Sainz was ‘not the easiest call of my life’

Vasseur had to tell Sainz that Lewis Hamilton would replace him from the 2025 season

Vasseur had to tell Sainz that Lewis Hamilton would replace him from the 2025 season

Wolff has been Mercedes team principal since 2013, the same year that hamilton joined the Silver Arrows.

Their relationship has produced fruit in abundance since, with Hamilotn winning six World Drivers’ Championships and Mercedes claiming seven World Constructors’ Championships.

However, the pull of Vasseur, alongside a reported £85million pay packet and a convincing pitch that Ferrari can help him win a record eighth championship, turned Hamilton’s head.

Vasseur and Hamilton have a special bond going back almost two decades. Hamilton won Formula Three and GP2 (now Formula Two) championships with Vasseur’s ART team in 2005 and 2006.

Vasseur said: ‘We have had a good relationship now for more than 20 years. We were always in contact to speak about different things and it [the deal] came naturally. I don’t know what was easy or what was not but it came like this, step by step.

‘Regarding Lewis, it’s a huge opportunity for the team. We are sure that he will bring us a decent step for the future and it will be a good challenge for everybody.’

However, he said that telling Toto Wolff he would poach Hamilton from Mercedes was the 'most difficult' chat of his life+6

However, he said that telling Toto Wolff he would poach Hamilton from Mercedes was the ‘most difficult’ chat of his life

Hamilton will reportedly earn £85million per year at Ferari and will look to seize an eighth World Drivers' Championship

Hamilton will reportedly earn £85million per year at Ferari and will look to seize an eighth World Drivers’ Championship

Hamilton is desprate to win an eighth chapionship to move clear of Michael Schumacher in the record books – and give himself more of a buffer over Max Vertsappen, who already has three at the age of 26.

Incredible longevity is possible in Formula 1, as Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen have proven in recent seasons, but Hamilton will know he is at the back end of his career.

At Ferrari he will link up with Charles Leclerc, the Monegasque driver who signed a new contract until 2029 in January.

Leclerc is clearly talented, having finished second in 2022, and recently revealed his own ambition to win the title.

On Hamilton, he said: ‘This kind of deal is not finalised overnight. It takes time and I was aware of those discussions before I signed my deal so it did not come as a surprise.

‘I have had discussions with Lewis especially when everything was announced and official. We texted each other.

Vasseur has long been a mentor to Hamilton and was his team principal in 2006 and 2007

Vasseur has long been a mentor to Hamilton and was his team principal in 2006 and 2007

Charles Leclerc said he was aware that Hamilton was in talks to join even before he signed his contract extension in January

Charles Leclerc said he was aware that Hamilton was in talks to join even before he signed his contract extension in January

‘Obviously, Lewis is an incredible driver, the most successful in history, with a lot of experience which he brings to the team which is a good thing.

‘Lewis is a great champion with so much success. It is always interesting to have a new teammate, because you learn different ways of driving and working, and even more so when my new teammate is a seven-time world champion.’

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