Rumours have linked Sir Lewis Hamilton with a move to Ferrari for several years – and now he has been invited to drive one of their Formula 1 cars.
But Mercedes need not worry, nor Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz for that matter. The car in question is from 1970 – just the 15 years before the World Champion was born!
It’s the Ferrari 312B that was raced that season by Swiss driver Clay Regazzoni and the one in which he won the Italian Grand Prix at Monza.
These days, it is owned by Paolo Barilla, himself a former F1 racer who drove in the first 14 races of the 1990 season for Minardi with a best result of 11th position at San Marino.
Now a highly successful businessman, the 59-year-old from Milan is deputy chairman of the Barilla Group, the world’s largest pasta producer.
Speaking about his classic Ferrari which is now more than half a century old, Barilla told the Italian version of Motorsport.com in a video interview: “I drove it in Monte Carlo and it really touched me. But the car is difficult to drive, so I won’t do it again.
“It would have to be a driver who can appreciate the emotions when you are behind the wheel of this car. I think Lewis Hamilton is such a driver.
“When I hear him talking about driving, I can feel he is a driver who can appreciate the special features of a car.”
Whether the 36-year-old Briton will take Barilla up on his offer is highly doubtful, as is the prospect of the seven-time World Champion ever driving a modern-day Ferrari F1 car.
But Hamilton has, in the past, spoken fondly about the Scuderia and hinted he may one day be tempted to join them, albeit he is now indelibly connected to Mercedes following a previous six-year spell with McLaren.
“We talked on occasion but we didn’t go beyond understanding what options were on the table and they weren’t the right ones,” Hamilton said last year about potentially joining forces with the Italian giants.
“Our positions have never aligned. I think timing matters and things happen in the end for a reason.
“In recent seasons, my contract always expired in years different from those of all the other drivers. In the end, that’s how it went.”