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The factors involved in Hamilton’s poised sensational F1 switch to Ferrari

Hamilton has been linked with a Maranello move on several occasions and speculation seemed to surface each time the driver was in the midst of negotiation a new deal with Mercedes. As such, those rumours might have been a handy means of improving the Hamilton camp’s bartering position since there was rarely anything more concrete than dinner with Ferrari president John Elkann.

The whispers of Hamilton joining the Scuderia this time around seem more credible, however, given the timing.

Ferrari has recently agreed a contract extension for talismanic driver Charles Leclerc for “several more seasons”. And, it would appear that Hamilton has the paperwork in place to remain at Mercedes for the 2024 and 2025 seasons following his latest extension. But what was initially thought to be a two-year deal could instead be a one-plus-one arrangement with exit clauses at the end of the first term. In this case, the end of the coming season.

Having the provisions to exit early would not necessarily guarantee a Ferrari switch. It would give Hamilton the option to retire earlier than planned or at least the possibility of extricating himself from Mercedes.

While Hamilton has driven for the Silver Arrows since 2013 and the two parties have won six drivers’ and eight constructors’ title together, the ground-effects rules overhaul of 2022 caused the team to stumble.

In a bid to recapture its former glory and chase after Red Bull, chief technical officer James Allison has returned to a hands-on role by once again taking up the position of technical director. He has also signed a new contract in recent weeks.

Carlos Sainz, Scuderia Ferrari, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG, talk after the race

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

Carlos Sainz, Scuderia Ferrari, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG, talk after the race

But given Mercedes adapted poorly to the new rules with its ‘size-zero’ sidepod architecture and then persevered with the concept again in 2023, the W15 challenger that will break cover this month marks a major design reset. If the new direction does not bring about a major boost to the team’s competitive fortunes, it reduces the risks for Hamilton should he want to break away.

With Hamilton not long having celebrated his 39th birthday, time is running out should he want to fulfil an F1 driver dream by moving to Ferrari – even if the Italian squad is not necessarily any better placed to deliver him a record-setting eight world crown. Should he accept that Red Bull is too far ahead to be caught by any rival in the immediate future, then the emotional pull of the Prancing Horse might alone be enough of a reason to move.

Certainly, Elkann has never hid his admiration for Hamilton. And pulling off that signing would mark a major coup for him and Ferrari and boost its appeal, which would in turn assist team boss Fred Vasseur in his ongoing recruitment drive to bolster the depleted technical department.

Incumbent Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz’s contract situation would also fit with Hamilton switching to Ferrari. The Spaniard’s deal runs out at the end of this season, and he has been clear that, ideally, he wants his future to be decided before the start of the new campaign. That’s a luxury that has now been afforded to Leclerc, but not for Sainz.

Talks have dragged on. Sainz – having stacked up well against Leclerc in their three seasons at team-mates – was seen to be in a good place to negotiate a higher salary and a preferred two-year deal. The driver wanting these much-improved terms were believed to be behind the delays in a contract announcement. But the alternative is that Ferrari already had its sights set on another sensational option.

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This article was originally published by a www.motorsport.com . Read the Original article here. .

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