Lewis Hamilton makes Ferrari staff admission ahead of historic move

Oliver Harden
A close-up shot of Lewis Hamilton biting his lip with a prominent Ferrari logo alongside him

Lewis Hamilton raced on Italian soil for the first time since his Ferrari move was confirmed at Imola

Lewis Hamilton has admitted that he only knows two members of Ferrari’s race team ahead of his highly anticipated move to the Scuderia for the F1 2025 season – but does not see that as a major issue.

Hamilton took the F1 world by surprise earlier this year by announcing that he will join Ferrari on a multi-year deal from F1 2025, bringing an end to his long and successful association with Mercedes.

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It is only the second team switch of the seven-time World Champion’s illustrious career, having joined Mercedes from McLaren back in 2013.

Hamilton is known to have a productive relationship with Ferrari team principal Fred Vasseur, who oversaw his title-winning GP2 (now F2) season as the boss of ART Grand Prix in 2006.

The British driver is also on good terms with John Elkann, the Ferrari chairman, who reportedly initiated contact with Hamilton over a move to Maranello one year ago.

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PlanetF1.com revealed in February that Hamilton’s Mercedes contract contains a so-called “no-poaching” clause, which forbids him from having direct involvement in Mercedes staff following him to Ferrari.

That, however, did not stop Ferrari announcing two high-profile signings from Mercedes earlier this month in the shape of Loic Serra, appointed to the role of head of chassis performance engineering, and Jerome d’Ambrosio, who will work closely with Vasseur as deputy team principal. Both moves, however, were not influenced by Hamilton’s move to the Scuderia.

Speaking to media including PlanetF1.com’s Thomas Maher at last weekend’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, Hamilton admitted that he knows only two members of Ferrari’s existing workforce well – Serra and Jock Clear, who acted as his performance engineer at Mercedes across 2013/14 – but sees no issue ahead of his move to Maranello.

He said: “When I moved to Mercedes, I didn’t know anybody. And that was totally fine.

“I don’t think that makes a big difference personally to me.

“But obviously I worked with Loic for many, many years so I have a great working relationship with him.

“And my first number two [engineer], Jock, works with that team, so they’re the only two I think I know particularly well, as well as Fred.”

Despite his previous work with Hamilton, Clear is understood to have a very close relationship with the British driver’s F1 2025 team-mate Charles Leclerc, having served as his driver coach since Leclerc joined Ferrari in 2019.

Speaking at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix last November – two months before his Ferrari switch was announced – Hamilton outlined the extent of his relationship with Elkann and Vassuer, revealing he met the former at a Google camp in Italy many years ago.

He told media including PlanetF1.com “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].”

He added: “So that’s really as far as it goes.”

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