Hamilton Ferrari move discussed in last Mercedes F1 contract talks

Mercedes' Toto Wolff says he and Lewis Hamilton discussed the appeal of a move to Ferrari during the five-time Formula 1 world champion's contract negotiations last year

Hamilton Ferrari move discussed in last Mercedes F1 contract talks

Hamilton joined Mercedes from McLaren in 2013, and has won four of his five world championship titles with the manufacturer.

Last year he agreed to extend his Mercedes stay to the end of 2020 at the earliest, and Wolff said those discussions included the topic of a move to Ferrari.

"You have to simply acknowledge that probably it's in every driver's head to drive at Ferrari one day," said Wolff during the Spanish Grand Prix weekend.

"It's the most iconic Formula 1 brand, the most historic Formula 1 brand out there, and I totally respect if a driver has the desire to drive at Ferrari.

"And even within the team we have discussed it, and even with Lewis we have discussed it and we have agreed on that topic.

"We had the discussion when we negotiated the last contract."

Hamilton has won 54 of the 123 races he has started for Mercedes and finished on the podium 89 times.

His success with Mercedes has brought him level with Juan Manuel Fangio on five titles and behind only seven-time champion Michael Schumacher in the all-time list.

Hamilton is also second to Schumacher in terms of career victories, having moved to 75 - 16 behind Ferrari legend Schumacher.

"You just have to be open-minded and understand that drivers will explore opportunities that exist and benchmark themselves," said Wolff.

"What I've seen [that is] strong between Lewis and us is that we have always been very transparent with each other in those discussions.

"At the moment, everything is great. I think we are providing him with a car that is capable of achieving his objectives.

"If we continue to have a car that is performing on that level I think there is no reason to go and we would really love him to stay.

"And if one day ways part, it will be very positive and then each of us will try to achieve success with a different set-up."

Speaking hypothetically, Wolff answered "why not?" when asked if such a driver move could work the other way, with Ferrari's lead driver Sebastian Vettel moving to Mercedes in the future.

While he joked that this would be "creating headlines", Wolff said it was normal to be open to the prospect of any top-line driver if they were available.

"You need to consider that there are probably six or seven drivers out there that have the skill and the intelligence to deserve to be in a race- and a championship-winning car," said Wolff.

"Two of them are with us [Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas], and I hope it goes forever.

"Then there is a few others that we really enjoy watching and we enjoy watching them perform.

"And Sebastian is definitely one of them."

shares
comments
Russell encouraged by gap to F1 midfield in Spanish GP qualifying
Previous article

Russell encouraged by gap to F1 midfield in Spanish GP qualifying

Next article

Spanish GP chiefs confident of keeping Barcelona on 2020 calendar

Spanish GP chiefs confident of keeping Barcelona on 2020 calendar
Load comments
The 0.759% shift that created F1 2021's thriller  Plus

The 0.759% shift that created F1 2021's thriller 

Formula 1’s craziest title fight in years was long in the making. GP RACING reveals how a tiny swing - in absolute terms – equated to a big change in the balance of F1 power in 2021

The historic clues that offer hints of Hamilton’s next move Plus

The historic clues that offer hints of Hamilton’s next move

OPINION: Uncertainty over Lewis Hamilton's future has persisted since the race direction call that denied him an eighth world title in Abu Dhabi last month. But while walking away would be understandable, Hamilton has time and again responded well in the face of adversity and possesses all the tools needed to bounce back stronger than ever

Formula 1
Jan 26, 2022
What the FIA must do to restore F1’s credibility Plus

What the FIA must do to restore F1’s credibility

OPINION: The first stage of the 2022 Formula 1 pre-season is just over a month away, but the championship is still reeling from the controversial results of last year’s finale. The FIA acknowledges F1 has had its reputation dented as a result, so here’s how it could go about putting things right

Formula 1
Jan 25, 2022
The six F1 subplots to watch in 2022 as a new era begins Plus

The six F1 subplots to watch in 2022 as a new era begins

As Formula 1 prepares to begin a new era of technical regulations in 2022, Autosport picks out six other key elements to follow this season

Formula 1
Jan 24, 2022
Why newly-retired Raikkonen won't miss F1 Plus

Why newly-retired Raikkonen won't miss F1

After 349 grand prix starts, 46 fastest laps, 21 wins and one world championship, Kimi Raikkonen has finally called time on his F1 career. In an exclusive interview with Autosport on the eve of his final race, he explains his loathing of paddock politics and reflects on how motorsport has changed over the past two decades

Formula 1
Jan 23, 2022
Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shakeup Plus

Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shakeup

Formula 1 cars will look very different this year as the long-awaited fresh rules finally arrive with the stated aim of improving its quality of racing. Autosport breaks down what the return of 'ground effect' aerodynamics - and a flurry of other changes besides - means for the teams, and what fans can expect

Formula 1
Jan 21, 2022
Why new era F1 is still dogged by its old world problems Plus

Why new era F1 is still dogged by its old world problems

OPINION: The 2022 Formula 1 season is just weeks away from getting underway. But instead of focusing on what is to come, the attention still remains on what has been – not least the Abu Dhabi title decider controversy. That, plus other key talking points, must be resolved to allow the series to warmly welcome in its new era

Formula 1
Jan 20, 2022
The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022 Plus

The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022

Mick Schumacher’s knack of improving during his second season in a championship was a trademark of his junior formula career, so his progress during his rookie Formula 1 campaign with Haas was encouraging. His target now will be to turn that improvement into results as the team hopes to reap the rewards of sacrificing development in 2021

Formula 1
Jan 19, 2022