Vasseur-Hamilton

Fittipaldi: Hamilton and Vasseur will be like Schumacher and Todt

Vasseur-Hamilton

Double Formula 1 Champion Emerson Fittipaldi likened the joining of forces between Lewis Hamilton and Frederic Vasseur at Ferrari to the ultra successful Michael Schumacher and Jean Todt era during the 2000s.

Ahead of the 2024 F1 season we have been spoilt with news, some positive – Hamilton to Ferrari – and other negative – Christian Horner scandal.

But let’s keep looking at the positives, as the seven-time F1 Champion’s move to Maranello in 2025 was rightfully dubbed the news of the century, a move that has been under speculation for so long before its final materialization.

And immediately, as is the case with Ferrari, whenever a top driver joins them, there is talk about a new dawn that would finally bring success to the Reds, something they have been missing since that dominant streak they enjoyed between 2000 and 2004, with Michael Schumacher in the cockpit and Jean Todt in the hot seat.

Mind you there were many false dawns, when Fernando Alonso joined in 2010, and especially when Sebastian Vettel joined in 2015, especially as the latter was German, some calling him Baby Schumi…

Alas, the wait is still on, and now with Vasseur already on his second season as Ferrari boss and apparently doing a decent job improving the team so far, the news of Hamilton joining in 2025 have got the F1 fans and the Tifosi in particular talking about a resurgence at the fabled Italian F1 squad.

Emerson Fittipaldi is not underestimating the seismic effect of Hamilton’s move to Ferrari and took to basketball to describe how massive it is.

Hamilton to Ferrari like LeBron James to Lakers

In an interview made possible by the media team at VegasInsider.com, the great Brazilian said: “Lewis Hamilton joining Ferrari is like LeBron James joining the Los Angeles Lakers. The biggest star in the sport joining the biggest team.”

“Lewis making the decision to go to Ferrari was a big surprise to me and to everybody,” he went on, “and I think for Lewis, going to Ferrari, he is going to be very motivated to win a championship with them.

“I’m sure he’ll give 110 percent of performance, focus and he’ll bring a lot of experience from his Mercedes years, to Ferrari, as a driver.”

“I’m excited to see Lewis at Ferrari,” Fittipaldi admitted and explained: “By coincidence, Lewis and Fred Vasseur will be like Michael Schumacher and Jean Todt.

“Frederic Vasseur, I worked for a year with him, he was the manager of my A1 team. He’s a very focused guy. Very serious like Jean Todt.

“Lewis and Fred have known each other for so many years,” he pointed out. “They worked together in F3 and F2. They’ve had ups and downs, wins and losses, problems but they know each other very well and that’s the beginning of a very strong relationship that will spread in the team.”

“Frederic Vasseur and Lewis Hamilton working together will help change the environment at Ferrari. And that’s exactly what happened with Jean Todt and Schumacher.

“They changed the environment, gave more motivation and dedication to the team and raised expectations. I think that will happen with Lewis for sure,” Fittipaldi explained.

Another shock announcement, delivered ahead of the previous F1 race in Miami, was the departure of Adrian Newey from Red Bull after 19 years with the team.

Where will Newey end up going?

SUZUKA, JAPAN - APRIL 05: Adrian Newey, the Chief Technical Officer of Oracle Red Bull Racing looks on in the garage during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Japan at Suzuka International Racing Course on April 05, 2024 in Suzuka, Japan. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202404050109 // Usage for editorial use only //

And while Newey’s final destination has not been revealed yet, there is a lot of talk that the famous F1 designer may be heading to Ferrari which would mean another dream team is being assembled at Maranello.

“We don’t know where Adrian Newey is going to go,” Fittipaldi commented, adding: “It’d be great to see Adrian Newey work with Lewis Hamilton at Ferrari.

“It’ll be very special for Ferrari, for Italy to have Fred Vasseur, Lewis Hamilton and Adrian Newey. What a combination.”

However, the 1972 and 1974 F1 Champion is mindful of potential change at other teams, with Max Verstappen contemplating his future after the early 2024 instability at Red Bull, with Mercedes looking to replace Hamilton and their boss Toto Wolff not hiding his ambitions to sign the Dutch reigning F1 Champion.

So will Newey have a re-union with Verstappen at Mercedes? Fittipaldi said: “He [Newey] had a lot of conversations with Toto Wolff a few months ago. With Toto losing Lewis, I don’t know if Adrian Newey could be a possibility.”

Verstappen had a far from ideal Miami GP, beaten by Lando Norris, and Fittipaldi added: “Max is also complaining about the car. I don’t know if he wants to justify for the future. But he’s already complaining too much.

“In the first segment of the Miami GP, he was three seconds ahead. He opened on the first two laps and then he couldn’t open anymore and he complained about the back end of the car at the beginning and at the end of the race.

“I think Max and Toto can work well together, no doubt. Toto is a very professional guy. You have the best in his hands and I’m sure he’ll be very motivated and Mercedes, with the experience they have, they can deliver what they promise.

“It could be a possibility for Adrian to be there. A lot of things can happen in the next few months in F1,” the 77-year-old concluded.