Lewis Hamilton has revealed he regards John Elkann and Fred Vasseur as long-term friends after Red Bull boss Christian Horner claimed he had “serious talks” about a move to Ferrari for F1 2024.
Hamilton found himself at the centre of a mini F1 storm this week after Horner revealed he had been approached earlier this year by the Mercedes driver over a potential move to Red Bull.
Hamilton accused the Red Bull team principal of “just stirring things” with Horner later claiming that Hamilton’s father Anthony had made contact.
Lewis Hamilton opens up about Ferrari relationships
Additional reporting by Thomas Maher
Horner also argued that Hamilton “definitely” held “serious” discussions with Ferrari chairman Elkann around the time of the Monaco Grand Prix in May, with team principal Fred Vassuer – who oversaw Hamilton’s title-winning GP2 (now F2) season with the ART Grand Prix team in 2006 – potentially involved too.
Reports in May indicated Elkann had made an offer of £40million to tempt Hamilton to join Ferrari for 2024. Hamilton later signed a two-year agreement to stay with Mercedes until the end of 2025, with the deal announced in August – three days before Ferrari’s home race at Monza.
Asked about Horner’s claims ahead of today’s season-ending Abu Dhabi GP, Hamilton revealed that his relationships with Elkann and Vasseur go back years – and insisted no talks took place with Ferrari over a move.
He told media including PlanetF1.com’s Thomas Maher: “I know John really well, we met years ago in the Google camp. I went to a Google camp in Sicily and that’s when our friendship started and we’ve always remained in touch.
“I’ve known Fred since 2005 and we’ve always had a really great relationship and we would talk often, particularly since he’s been in Formula 1.
“Because after I left his team, we would talk all the time obviously when I was in his team, and I came to Formula 1 and you have less contact with the Formula 2 series.
“But since he’s been back [in F1] we’ve met, we’ve had more [conversations], we’ve travelled together with Toto [Wolff, Mercedes team boss].
“So that’s really as far as it goes.”
Hamilton became the most successful driver in F1 history during his dominant spell with Mercedes in 2014, equalling Ferrari icon Michael Schumacher’s record of seven World Championships in 2020 before becoming the first driver to surpass 100 grand prix victories and pole positions the following year.
However, he remains without a win since the penultimate round of the 2021 season in Saudi Arabia following Mercedes’ struggles to adapt to the new ground effect rules.
Speaking to Sky F1 on Friday in Abu Dhabi, Horner claimed it doesn’t require a “rocket scientist” to work out why Hamilton would have been tempted to leave Mercedes after the longest barren run of his entire F1 career.
“Let’s face it, Lewis hasn’t won a grand prix for two years,” he said.