Ferrari are reportedly willing to break the bank to lure seven-time Formula 1 Champion Lewis Hamilton to Maranello in 2024.
Hamilton’s contract runs out at the end of the 2023 F1 season, and talks between him and Mercedes are underway, as both have declared they plan to stick together for the future.
Toto Wolff recently said that the talks with “friend” Hamilton are awkward as money is being discussed but is adamant both parties will continue their collaboration in F1, one that has already lasted 11 years, when Hamilton jumped ship from McLaren to join the enfant Mercedes project at the time.
But with Mercedes suffering from a slump in performance for the second season in a row, having gotten their sums wrong with both their cars built under the current aerodynamic rules, rumors have been rife that a frustrated Hamilton is looking elsewhere to achieve his eighth F1 Drivers’ Crown, which would break the record he now equally holds with German Legend Michael Schumacher.
However, Mail Sport reported that Ferrari are in advanced discussions with Hamilton which could see the Briton make a sensational switch and finally don the Red Coveralls at the age of 38.
Leclerc to Mercedes?
The reports also claimed that Ferrari Chairman John Elkann is directly involved in the negotiations, and ready to pay up to $50-Million to ensure the Mercedes veteran puts pen to paper.
The new report comes amid speculation that Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, also frustrated with the state of affairs at the Scuderia is also looking to leave the team beyond his current contract that expires at the end of the 2024 season.
Should the Hamilton-Ferrari rumors turn out to be true, that could see Leclerc head to join George Russell at Mercedes, while there could always and option for Ferrari to let Carlos Sainz go, and pair Hamilton with Leclerc.
Mercedes have struggled in 2022 and 2023, and are now banking on a major update to their W14 that was due to break cover at the cancelled Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, but will now make its track debut in Monaco next weekend.
One could argue that the extent of Mercedes’ success with the new upgraded car would be a factor in Hamilton making his decision, keeping in mind that it would be a brave decision for the winner of 103 grands prix to head over to Ferrari given the sorry state they are in right now, unless he uses his discussions with Elkann as leverage in his negotiations with Wolff to get him to sign a fat paycheck for the contract extension.
But in F1, you can never say never… Watch this space…