Lewis Hamilton said he did have some “casual conversations” with Ferrari in the past, but did not fancy the move to Italy.
Hamilton’s Mercedes and Formula 1 future was one of the key talking points for much of the first half of F1 2023, as despite the widespread belief that he would sign fresh terms with Mercedes, the delays kept coming.
That then allowed speculation to bubble up once more that Hamilton could take on the red of Ferrari, rumours which Hamilton and Ferrari consistently batted away.
Lewis Hamilton did not have Ferrari offer on the table
In an interview with Blick, Hamilton maintained that Ferrari has never put a contract offer on the table, though the idea of him making the switch to Maranello has cropped up before in “casual conversations”.
Ultimately though, Hamilton could not envisage himself enjoying life in Italy.
“Never,” Hamilton responded to the suggestion that Ferrari must have put a contract in front of him before.
“Okay, I’m sure we’ve had a few casual conversations. I know a lot of good people there. But I never felt ready to move to Italy.”
So, rather than interest from an outside team like Ferrari, Hamilton lifted the lid on actual reasons for the extended Mercedes contract talks, with his “promotional activities” being the key one.
But, Hamilton stressed this was not the first time he and Mercedes boss Toto Wolff have “haggled” over details and drawn the process out, Hamilton branding the Mercedes boss a “great leader” with whom it is “easy” to negotiate.
“This is not the first time that the two of us discussed for hours and haggled over details,” said Hamilton. “Always under the motto: From Thursday to Sunday, I belong exclusively to Formula 1.
“There are so many details about my promotional activities. I’m in a happy position with Toto. He is respected and admired by everyone. It’s easy to negotiate with him. And that makes him a great leader.”
During the closing stages of the process to strike a new deal with Hamilton, Wolff had spoken about how he and Hamilton were in agreement on their parts, with the lawyers checking everything over then triggering the delay.
Hamilton said he did not leave checking through the contract to those around him, instead making sure he gave it a full read through, all 200 pages!
“Of course, I want to know exactly what’s in there,” said Hamilton when asked if he still reads his contracts himself.
“But now it’s over 200 pages, or a f**king book. And that takes you days!”
Hamilton and Mercedes team-mate George Russell agreed contract extensions at the same time to take them to the end of the 2025 campaign.