The fallout continues in the world of Formula 1 following the shock announcement of Lewis Hamilton’s impending Ferrari move.
With one season to go for Hamilton alongside George Russell at Mercedes, fireworks have been predicted for their final season as team-mates, while one potential replacement option has been taken off the market by their current employer.
All this and more, so let us dive into the action…
Jacques Villeneuve expects Lewis Hamilton-George Russell ‘confrontation’
Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff is set to face a tricky task in managing his driver dynamic through F1 2024, considering Hamilton will bow out after the campaign and link-up with rivals Ferrari.
And should Hamilton and Russell find themselves going wheel-to-wheel in the season ahead, then 1997 World Champion Villeneuve reckons the sparks could fly.
Asked by Gazzetta dello Sport what will ‘entertain us’ this season, the Canadian replied: “See how Mercedes will handle the confrontation between Russell and Hamilton.”
Red Bull tell Mercedes hands off Daniel Ricciardo
Wolff has given little away on who may be targeted as their Hamilton replacement, confirming to media including PlanetF1.com that they could settle anywhere from a rookie to an experienced F1 racer.
But if they had eight-time grand prix winner Ricciardo potentially in mind, sadly Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko has apparently told F1-Insider.com that Ricciardo is “not available”.
Alex Albon not set for multi-year Red Bull deal
Red Bull has business of their own to attend to in the driver market, with Ricciardo seen as a prime contender to replace Sergio Perez should his struggles spill over into F1 2024.
But, just as talk had bubbled up in the media about Red Bull turning to Albon, the driver they once axed now racing with Williams, sources have indicated to PlanetF1.com that there is no truth to this speculation.
Could Ferrari have landed Lewis Hamilton years ago?
After Ferrari opted to extend Sebastian Vettel’s contract in mid-2017, Hamilton publicly stated that his “dream” to drive for Ferrari was therefore on hold, for the foreseeable future at the very least.
However, recalling a visit from Hamilton to the Ferrari factory to pick up a new LaFerrari, Ferrari Vice Chairman Piero Ferrari told respected Italian journalist Leo Turrini that Hamilton dropped a joke that “struck him” and suggested Ferrari perhaps missed their chance.
He said: “Lewis made a joke: if you waited twelve months I’d come…”
Fernando Alonso discusses ‘broken harmony’ of Lewis Hamilton partnership
Hamilton made his Formula 1 debut back in 2007 with McLaren, going up against team-mate Fernando Alonso in what turned into a volatile driver pairing.
Speaking in a new DAZN documentary called ‘Fernando. Revealed’, the double-World Champion reflected on the “immature” and “tense” rivalry with Hamilton, as ‘SpyGate’ emerged from the ashes of the partnership.
“There were many things that broke the relationship harmony of that year,” said Alonso. “We were young, immature, I was the first, and we had many clashes.”