‘It might get tricky’ – Lewis Hamilton receives first-hand Ferrari insight from Mercedes design chief

Jamie Woodhouse
A close-up shot of Lewis Hamilton with a prominent Ferrari logo alongside him

What can Lewis Hamilton achieve with Ferrari in 2025 and beyond?

Mercedes technical director James Allison thinks it “might get tricky” for Lewis Hamilton at first upon his Ferrari move, as he will need to come to terms with the fact that “the Ferrari is the star”.

F1 2024 marks the final season for Hamilton in Mercedes colours, as the seven-time World Champion prepares for Ferrari life from next year.

Lewis Hamilton warned of ‘tricky’ Ferrari transition

Hamilton will be realising a “childhood dream” by moving to Ferrari, but Allison, who had two previous spells with Ferrari and played a key role in their streak of five title doubles from 2000-04, offered some insight into what Hamilton will experience at Ferrari.

“Well, he’ll get a sense of the the spirit and passion of that team,” Allison began when speaking on the Beyond the Grid podcast.

And when asked how he thinks Hamilton will react to this, Allison said his fellow Brit must be prepared for a Ferrari-first environment, which will be an adjustment in the early stages.

“I think initially, it might get tricky,” Allison predicted.

“At Ferrari, the Ferrari is the star. I think every driver who’s driven there, at some level or other, has had to come to terms with that.

“If Lewis actually embraces that and loves it in the way that Michael [Schumacher] did, then there’s space for both to be great.

“If he doesn’t, then I think the brand and the Ferrari will always dominate.”

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The shock announcement of Hamilton’s impending Ferrari move came before the F1 2024 campaign even began, Allison admitting that the timing “caught everyone a bit on the hop”.

Though Hamilton’s exit itself was an eventuality they were prepared for, as he had an exit clause in his contract signed last summer.

Asked how surprised he was when he heard the news Hamilton was leaving, Allison said: “Not massively. I was surprised at the manner in which it happened, the timing of it, but I was aware of the nature of the contract we’d offered, and the nature of the contract we’d offered, permitted that to happen.

“So if it then happened, we shouldn’t be surprised, because that was explicitly a thing that we were prepared to happen, or else we wouldn’t have put it as an option in the contract.

“So the precise timing and sequencing of when it happened, that I think caught everyone a bit on the hop, but that it did happen, I don’t think was unpredictable.”

The Hamilton and Mercedes partnership has delivered record-breaking F1 success, Hamilton winning six of his seven World titles with the team as part of an eight-year streak of Constructors’ title wins for Mercedes between 2014-21, seven of those titles doubles.

And asked what he will miss about Hamilton, Allison replied: “The days where he would just produce total magic, that would make you go, ‘oh my goodness’, putting a car on a road with such precision that just left all the other drivers around him with no option but to sort of surrender to what Lewis was doing on the road.

“The ability to make a tyre last and last and last, even while telling Bono [Peter Bonnington, Hamilton’s long-serving race engineer] it wouldn’t.

“The drama that goes along with having him as a team-mate, but just the delivery of brilliant, brilliant performance.

“I’ve said before, I think he’s the best racing car driver there’s ever been, and I still believe it.”

Pointed out to him that this is coming from someone who worked with Schumacher, Formula 1’s only other seven-time World Champion, Allison continued: “Yeah, another utterly remarkable person.

“And it’s a parlour game that we can all indulge in endlessly without resolution.

“But if I, gun against the head, had to choose the best person, I would pick Lewis.”

Hamilton sits P8 in the Drivers’ Championship going into the Spanish Grand Prix, as he continues to chase a first podium finish of the season.

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