Ferrari president John Elkann “personally” contacted Lewis Hamilton to offer him a Ferrari contract, one he “politely” declined reports Italian journalist Leo Turrini.
Out of contract with Mercedes at the end of this season, both Hamilton and his team boss Toto Wolff have insisted several times that a deal is coming and yet, some six months after it was first said to be near, nothing has materialised.
From salary to ambassadorial role to duration, the media has speculated as to the hold-up while some pundits have suggested Hamilton should take the opportunity to leave Mercedes.
Lewis Hamilton politely replied ‘no thanks’
Former F1 team boss Eddie Jordan believes Hamilton and Ferrari would be “a match made in heaven” while former driver Martin Brundle urged him to “go to Ferrari and do a Michael Schumacher”.
Ferrari, themselves, are reportedly made a play with president John Elkann “personally” offering Hamilton a contract.
Turrini reported on his blog: “Hamilton had been contacted personally by Elkann. I understand he politely replied ‘no thanks’. And you can understand it (unfortunately).”
But according to Auto Motor und Sport, Elkann isn’t the only Ferrari team member to have approached Hamilton about a seat in red.
Speaking about Hamilton’s drawn-out contract saga, Michael Schmidt told the German publication that he doesn’t ever remember an “extension of Hamilton’s contract that happened from one day to the next, but in the end, it has always been announced.”
In the meantime, Ferrari team boss Fred Vasseur is rumoured to have approached Hamilton, but as with Elkann, the Briton also turned him down.
“Vasseur is rumoured to have made Hamilton an offer, I won’t deny it,” Schmidt continued.
“I think Vasseur knows well that Lewis is not going anywhere, but he also has to make sure that Ferrari show some dynamism.
“I also think Hamilton is quite smart. He knows very well that even if they pay him double in Maranello, things won’t go any better there: Ferrari is not ahead of Mercedes as a car.
“And every problem at Mercedes would multiply at Ferrari because it is even more in the spotlight.”
Ferrari, though, have previously denied offering Hamilton a contract.
Earlier this year the Daily Mail reported that Vasseur has tabled a £40m-a-year deal for Hamilton to join Ferrari, a report the Frenchman denied.
“You know that at this stage of the season, you will have each week a different story [about driver changes] and we are not sending an offer to Lewis Hamilton. We didn’t do it,” he said.
“We didn’t have discussions,” he added. “I think every single team on the grid would like to have Hamilton at one stage – it would be bullshit to not say something like this.
“If I have discussed with Hamilton, [it’s because] I have had discussions with him for the last 20 years – I have discussed things almost every single weekend with Hamilton.
“I don’t want to have to stop having discussions with him because you are chasing me [about a contract offer].”