Former F1 team owner Giancarlo Minardi says if Ferrari wanted to drop Carlos Sainz, they should’ve gone with “young talent” and not “a 40-year-old champion” in Lewis Hamilton.
Six days after Ferrari pulled off one of the biggest coups ever seen in Formula 1 when they announced they’d signed Mercedes star Hamilton, the world is still processing the shock signing.
No one more so than Sainz who lost his Ferrari seat to the seven-time World Champion.
Ferrari and Lewis Hamilton warned there’s ‘no guarantee of success’
After his initial PR-esque statement in the wake of the news, Sainz spoke to Sky Italia revealing he “already knew several things” before the news broke and that he’s “calm” about his future.
But while Sainz prepares for life after Ferrari, and Hamilton builds up to racing in red, one man who is not happy with the Scuderia’s decision is former F1 team owner Minardi.
Although he conceded to Quotidiano Sportivo that the “great agreement between a seven-time champion of the world and the Lady in Red” is a “meeting between myth and legend”, he feels Ferrari made the wrong call.
“I wouldn’t have taken someone like Hamilton,” he said.
Instead, he “would have kept Sainz” who he likes “a lot.
“But it could be that he already has a long-term agreement with Audi, which will enter the GPs from 2026. In any case, I would have replaced him with a young talent, not with a 40-year-old champion.
“Let’s be clear, I’m not an owl! If Lewis wins the World Championship with the red, I’ll be the first to celebrate. [But] I’ll limit myself to expressing a scepticism that I hope is unfounded.”
That “scepticism” lies in whether Hamilton can win with Ferrari, and that, Minardi says, will depend entirely on the car Ferrari design.
“So we have to ask ourselves,” he said, “in all these years has Ferrari lost because of the fault of those who drove the car?
“No, the red has not been without titles for a generation due to the responsibility of those behind the wheel.
“It follows that Hamilton is no guarantee of success. Just as [Sebastian] Vettel was not.”
“In F1 it is essential to have a winning car. You don’t build a house starting from the roof, but from the foundations.”
‘Let’s say there is more than one oddity in this story’
Although Ferrari have pursued Hamilton for many years, his signing still came as a shock as days prior Charles Leclerc had signed a new long-term contract.
Already it has been suggested that while Ferrari will have the strongest line-up on the grid, their 2025 driver pairing could create a few headaches for team boss Fred Vasseur as he tries to manage them.
It’s a decision that has baffled Minardi.
“How will Leclerc take it?” the Italian asked.
“Look, they extended his contract saying they were betting everything on him. A week goes by and they put a legend like Hamilton next to him…
“Let’s say there is more than one oddity in this story.”
Either way, Mercedes and Ferrari are in for an interesting season ahead as they try to manage drivers who will be leaving the team at the end of the campaign.
Predicting that Hamilton could be a “provocateur”, he added: “Look, one thing is clear here: Lewis gives up the Silver Arrow early because he knows that Verstappen’s Red Bull is immediately unbeatable.”
“Ferrari ditto. Vasseur will have the task of managing Sainz separated at home and it won’t be easy!
“Furthermore, we come from a season in which Red Bull won 21 Grands Prix out of 22. The technical rules remain identical. It’s hard to imagine a turnaround.”