‘Maybe Ferrari won’t want them’ jibe as Lewis Hamilton billed as ‘spy in the camp’

Michelle Foster
A race-ready Lewis Hamilton looks down to reveal the top of his helmet as he gets into his Mercedes F1 car, with a prominent Ferrari badge alongside him.

Lewis Hamilton will leave Mercedes for Ferrari at the end of 2024.

Billed as the “spy in the camp” as Lewis Hamilton gears up to move from Mercedes to Ferrari, Sam Bird has joked that “maybe Ferrari won’t want” Mercedes’ secrets.

The world of motorsport is still reeling from the news that as of the end of this coming season, Hamilton will no longer be a Mercedes driver.

The Briton informed Toto Wolff at the beginning of the month that he was activating an escape clause in his contract that would allow him to leave one year into his latest two-year deal.

‘There’s certainly going be times that it might get a little bit awkward’

Instead, he’ll be racing for Ferrari and fulfilling a “childhood dream”.

His decision has raised a host of questions from who will take over from him at Mercedes to what next for the ousted Carlos Sainz.

And then there are the more pressing ones for this season about whether Mercedes will favour George Russell and will Hamilton be frozen out.

Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff told PlanetF1.com that in terms of the latter, it is a possibility.

“In terms of the development going forward, I think this is something which we need to look at,” he admitted. “The regulations stay pretty much the same and when it comes to 2025, we will evaluate later in the season what it means in terms of technical information.”

Put to former Mercedes test driver Bird that Hamilton was now the ‘spy in the camp’, the Formula E driver told the BBC’s Chequered Flag podcast: “He’s obviously going to do his best for the team that he needs to be in to make the current car go as fast as possible.

“But there will be meetings probably later on in the season that he’s not going to be privy to. It’ll be George Russell, and the engineers, and maybe Toto who will be involved in those.

“But there will now be meetings that Lewis is not invited to go to the base and take part in.

“They’ll use his data of course, but he will be seen as somebody that can potentially take Mercedes’ secrets to Ferrari – maybe Ferrari don’t want them – but you know there’s certainly going be times that it might get a little bit awkward.”

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His fellow podcast pundit Rebecca Clancy of The Times agrees there will come a point where Mercedes have to keep Hamilton out of the technical conversations.

That, though, doesn’t mean Hamilton and the team won’t continue to strive for the best results possible in the W15.

“Yeah, definitely he will start getting shut out of conversations,” Clancy said.

“But the conversations, I think you’ll start to see as they develop through the seasons, as as they bring upgrades, they will start to favour George Russell because they want the information from him. They will want him giving the feedback.

“They will have to do that, it’s just the very nature of how it works when you move to another team that he will be shut out but he is super professional. And I do believe even with a season to go knowing that he’s leaving he will still give them his all.

“I mean, we cannot forget he won six of his seven titles with this team, with this works team. He won with Mercedes power in McLaren.

“So he is very loyal to the brand and I know that sounds a bit mad now that we know that he’s going on to Ferrari but I do think he’ll still give them everything this season.”

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