Alain Prost delivers Ferrari ‘clear number one’ driver warning ahead of Lewis Hamilton era

Michelle Foster
Lewis Hamilton walks with future Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc.

Lewis Hamilton and Charles Leclerc will be Ferrari team-mates in 2025.

Although Alain Prost reckons “on paper” Ferrari won’t state their number one driver, if they want to fight for the 2025 title they’ll have to choose between Charles Leclerc and Lewis Hamilton.

This season will be Leclerc’s final year with Carlos Sainz as his team-mate, the latter having been passed over by Ferrari for Hamilton.

Alain Prost on Ferrari: There’s a lot of politics going on

The Scuderia have already announced they’ll have a new line-up come 2025 with Leclerc and Hamilton as their two drivers. But that means one more season of Leclerc v Sainz.

And already it’s proving to be a spicy one.

Sainz overtook Leclerc twice on the track at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix to join the Red Bull drivers on the podium ahead of his team-mate.

It’s already become a tricky issue for the Scuderia to manage, one made even more difficult by the fact they are Ferrari.

“Especially at Ferrari, you really need a first driver, because you have to deal with more pressure,” quotes Prost as having told Servus TV.

“There’s a lot of politics going on, which you sometimes don’t know about and which you sometimes don’t understand.

“When you’re fighting another team, it makes it much easier for a team if you have a clear number one.”

Citing an example of that, Prost said of his 1986 World Championship triumph: “I won the title after a battle with Nigel [Mansell] and Nelson [Piquet]. They were [Williams] team-mates and they never received team orders. I really used that to my advantage.” recommends

10 biggest sports deals in history: Where does Lewis Hamilton’s Ferrari salary rank?

Revealed: The remarkable 36-hour timeline behind Lewis Hamilton’s shock Ferrari move

Ferrari will need a No.1 when Hamilton arrives

But while he accepts that maybe this season it’s not something Ferrari needs, not after Max Verstappen’s dominant victory in Bahrain, having a number one is important if, and when, they’re fighting for the World title.

And it could be very important next season when Leclerc teams up with seven-time World Champion Hamilton.

Hamilton will partner Leclerc next season having sensationally decided to leave Mercedes after what will be his 12th season with the Silver Arrows to join Ferrari.

He’s signed a multi-year deal with the Scuderia, creating what is expected to be the most tantalising team-mate tussle of 2025.

“When you don’t have the chance to win the title, maybe you don’t need a first driver,” Prost added.

“But if you do have that chance and you want to win that title… maybe we’ll find out next year with Lewis and Charles.

“That will be very interesting. It will be very difficult for management, but on paper there will be no first driver, which is good for the sport anyway.”

Read next: How to watch the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix for FREE this weekend