Lewis Hamilton has a ‘non-poaching’ clause in Mercedes contract which PREVENTS him repeating what Michael Schumacher did when he joined Ferrari… ahead of his own move to the Italian team. bb

Lewis Hamilton has a ‘non-poaching’ clause in his contract which will prevent him from luring key Mercedes personnel to join him at Ferrari next season.

The seven-time world champion dropped a bombshell this month by announcing that he will leave Mercedes at the end of the season and fulfil his dream of driving for the sport’s most famous team.

This opened up suggestions that senior staff at Mercedes who he has built a close rapport with – such as engineer Pete ‘Bono’ Bonnington – could follow him to the Italian outfit.

However, Autosport have reported that there is a ‘non-poaching’ clause in his Mercedes contract, preventing team personnel from making the move alongside Hamilton.

This will prevent him from repeating what Michael Schumacher did when the legendary Formula One star made the switch from Benetton to Ferrari in 1996.

Lewis Hamilton will leave Mercedes at the end of the season to fulfil his dream move to Ferrari

A clause in his contract means he will be unable to lure key Mercedes personnel – such as race engineer Pete Bonnington (right) – to make the switch with him to the Italian outfit

Michael Schumacher joined Ferrari in 1996 and was able to lure key personnel to follow him from Benneton to the Italian outfit

Schumacher, who won back-to-back titles with Benneton in the two years prior, was given free rein at Ferrari, as the team struggled to compete with Williams who clinched the 1996 championship with Damon Hill.

During his first season at Ferrari, Schumacher was able to lure Benetton’s technical director Ross Brawn and chief designer Rory Byrne to join the German driver at his new team.

Both men played influential roles in Schumacher’s success at Ferrari, winning five straight drivers’ titles between 2000 and 2004.

Schumacher’s first title with Ferrari brought an end to a 21-year wait to win a world title.

Ferrari are on another barren run as 2024 will mark 17-years since Kimi Raikkonen last delivered them a drivers’ championship.

Hamilton knows team principal Frederic Vasseur after they worked together during his GP2 winning title season of 2006.

The 39-year-old though won’t find many familiar faces when he joins the team in 2025.

Hamilton has built a close bond with race engineer Bonnington, and Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff admitted that they will have a discussion in the future.

Schumacher won the first two of his seven drivers’ titles in 1994 and 1995 with the Benetton team

He was then able to lure Ross Brawn (right) and Rory Byrne to leave Benetton and join him at Ferrari – with both playing a huge part in the team winning five straight titles in the early 2000s

He said: ‘I think this is a discussion which everyone needs to have in the months to come,’ Wolff said.

‘And as much as I’ve spoken with Bono already, when I told him [about Hamilton’s move] he said, ‘Is it April the first?’ That’s something which we will discuss in the future.’

Hamilton’s £40m switch to Ferrari will see him partner talented Monegasque driver Charles Leclerc and replace Spaniard Carlos Sainz.

Hamilton will join Ferrari after winning six of his seven world-titles at Mercedes

Speaking about his exit from Mercedes on social media, Hamilton wrote: ‘After an incredible 11 years at Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 team, the time has come for me to start a new chapter in my life and I will be joining Scuderia Ferrari in 2025.

‘I feel incredibly fortunate, after achieving things with Mercedes that I could only have dreamed of as a kid, that I now have the chance to fulfil another childhood dream. Driving in Ferrari red.’

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