With contrasting driving styles, it has been suggested Lewis Hamilton and Charles Leclerc will have a “fight” on their hands at Ferrari to get what they want from the car.
Leclerc will have a new team-mate next year after Ferrari stunned the world of motorsport when it was confirmed that Hamilton would be ditching Mercedes at the end of this year to race in red in 2025.
Leclerc, who before Hamilton’s signing had committed his future to Ferrari beyond the 2024 season in what is reportedly a new five-year extension, has yet to comment on the announcement.
Ralf Schumacher highlights Lewis Hamilton and Charles Leclerc’s contrasting needs
Signing Hamilton means Ferrari will have arguably the strongest driver line-up on the grid, but it’s a dynamic that could bring problems.
Neither Hamilton nor Leclerc will be willing to play second fiddle as they vie to become Ferrari’s first Drivers’ Champion since 2007.
But in order to achieve that, or even be in contention, they need the right car, and therein former F1 driver Ralf Schumacher predicts could lie Ferrari’s first headache.
“When Hamilton is at Ferrari he will try to get number 1 status, but I think he will have to fight for it because of Leclerc’s management,” Schumacher told Sky Deutschland.
“Ferrari has done this before with number 1 status and it wasn’t well received by everyone.
“What is more important is: what do the drivers want? Lewis needs a stable car, while Charles can handle a nervous car and it remains to be seen who will prevail.”
But before Hamilton joins Ferrari he has one last season with Mercedes, and it is one in which Schumacher believes the team will favour his team-mate George Russell as Ferrari will Leclerc over the departing Carlos Sainz.
“It’s a damn difficult year for Ferrari and Mercedes,” he added.
“On the one hand, you have a driver who is supposed to be racing for the World Championship, so you have to share everything with him.
“But only up to a certain point in the season because of the further development of the car. At Mercedes, they will certainly focus more on Russell.”
Ralf Schumacher suggests Lewis Hamilton has ‘lost trust’ in Mercedes
The one question everyone is asking is why did Hamilton decide now to leave Mercedes.
Making the call ahead of his 12th season with the Brackley squad, his winless streak, Mercedes’ lack of progress in the ground-effect aerodynamic era, and even talk of an ambassadorial role have been suggested.
Schumacher reckons he’s “lost trust” in the team to get it right.
“At first it was surprising, but then it was understandable,” he said.
“Lewis Hamilton really wants to win and I think he has lost a little trust in the team and in the structure at Mercedes in the last two years. Those two years were difficult.
“Don’t underestimate the fact that Frederic Vasseur’s relationship is a very long and well-known one and I am sure that he promised him everything.