Formula 1 commentator Peter Windsor believes Lewis Hamilton should not even consider a move to Ferrari unless the Scuderia make an offer worth at least £80million.
With Hamilton’s current contract at Mercedes set to expire at the end of the 2023 season, the seven-time World Champion has been strongly linked with a move to Ferrari in recent weeks.
Ahead of last weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix, a report by Mail Sport claimed Ferrari president John Elkann has been in “close contact” with Hamilton and is preparing an offer worth £40m to partner the British driver with Charles Leclerc in 2024.
Hamilton denied the rumours when asked in Monte Carlo, insisting an extension to his contract with Mercedes – the team he first joined way back in 2013 – is “almost” done.
Meanwhile, Ferrari team principal Fred Vasseur – who oversaw the British driver’s title-winning GP2 season with the ART Grand Prix operation in 2006 – dismissed the report as typical silly season gossip but admitted “every single team on the grid would like to have Hamilton at one stage.”
Speaking via a recent YouTube stream, former Williams and Ferrari team manager Windsor feels Hamilton should not even have the conversation with Ferrari unless F1’s most famous team are prepared to pay at least £80million.
He said: “I’ve seen a few numbers bandied around. One was £40million.
“If I was Lewis Hamilton, I’d be going for a lot more than £40million because you could argue that Lewis, with the Ferrari brand and what he could do for the Ferrari brand, should be thinking in terms of at least £50m just for PR and brand turnaround.
“And then how much is he worth as a driver, as a pure race driver? You’d have to say £25-30m.
“Forty? I would say about 80 would be more logical.
“And if they’re not going to pay that sort of money, I don’t think he should do it. I think he should stay at Mercedes and look for some long-term deal at Mercedes and continue.
“Because what you don’t want to do if you’re Lewis Hamilton is leave Mercedes just as they’re going to be competitive because the odds are, having been uncompetitive for so long, that a team that big and that good will eventually find a way.
“That’s another issue for Lewis, so he may well stay where he is and it could be the money that decides it.
“If I was managing Lewis and it was £40million, I’d say: ‘Nah, stay where you are.’
“Ferrari [is a] huge brand for Lewis Hamilton to put his name to. Massive. And that’s [worth] a lot more than a £40million deal in my view.”
Despite their status as the most successful team in F1 history, Ferrari remain without a World Championship title of any kind since 2008 and have won just four races in the last four seasons – all of them coming in the first half of last year following a major rules reset.
With no guarantee that he would be in a position to compete for a record-breaking eighth title in a Ferrari, Hamilton – without a race win since the penultimate round of the 2021 season – would be entitled to play hardball in any negotiations with the Prancing Horse according to Windsor.
He added: “If Lewis is going to Ferrari, it’s such a big unknown in terms of how competitive that car would be that, if I was Lewis, I wouldn’t go for less than 80.
“I did say £100m to a mate the other day and he said: ‘That’s a bit much, isn’t it?’
“I said: ‘OK, let’s bring it down to 80…’
“But 40? You’ve got to be joking. If he does it for 40, hats off to him because it means he’s just doing it for the love of the sport.
“I’m not decrying the enormity of £40million, but I’m just saying for that he might as well stay at Mercedes really.”