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Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG, 3rd position, Frederic Vasseur, Team Principal and General Manager, Scuderia Ferrari, talk after the race
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The status factor that made Ferrari impossible for Hamilton to turn down

The most successful driver of all time is moving to one of Formula 1’s most evocative teams – on paper, a highly auspicious partnership. Lewis Hamilton describes it as the fruition of a childhood dream. But challenges lie in the nuance: the clock is ticking on Hamilton’s career and Ferrari hasn’t won a constructors’ title since 2008. GP RACING asks: what does each party want – need – from this arrangement?

Frédéric Vasseur is an unlikely paradigm breaker at first glance. The Ferrari team principal’s somewhat grumpy resting facial expression soon gives way to a twinkling eye and a ready laugh; he’s Formula 1’s equivalent of Albert Le Blanc, the children’s story about the saddest-looking bear the other toys have ever seen who turns out to be a big roly-poly bundle of joy.

But Vasseur has steel beneath the warm, avuncular exterior. It has not always been apparent in his eight years in F1, managing the Renault, Sauber/Alfa Romeo and now Ferrari teams. But it certainly is now. The 55-year-old Frenchman is the key that unlocked the biggest driver move in F1 for a decade; perhaps even ever – Lewis Hamilton’s decision to leave Mercedes and join Ferrari for 2025.

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