Jean Alesi believes Lewis Hamilton’s arrival at Ferrari will be more seismic than Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel’s, and he doubts Michael Schumacher would have “wanted” the Briton as a team-mate.
After years of rumours and subsequent denials, followed by Mercedes contract extensions, Hamilton will race in red come 2025 having signed a multi-year contract with Ferrari.
Although last August the Briton put pen to paper on a new two-year extension, last week he exercised his option to leave after year one.
Jean Alesi predicts ‘electrifying adventure’ when Lewis Hamilton joins Ferrari
The 39-year-old is not the first World Champion to join Ferrari in recent years, with Alonso doing so in 2010 while Vettel swapped from Red Bull to the Scuderia in 2015.
Neither, though, were able to achieve the ultimate success, the World title.
In fact, the last World Champion to join Ferrari and win a title was the legendary Schumacher.
He joined the Scuderia in 1996 and went on to win five successive Drivers’ Championship titles from 2000 to 2004, the team’s most successful period in Formula 1.
Alesi believes if anyone can once again inspire Ferrari to glory, it will be Hamilton, who reminds him of Schumacher.
“Lewis’s depth makes me think of that of Schumacher, in terms of personality and charisma,” he told Corriere della Sera, “with all due respect to Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel who also arrived in Maranello loaded with titles and a reputation of the highest order.
“Therefore, I expect an electrifying adventure, renewed race after race, around which universal interest will be concentrated.”
Alesi clinched his sole Formula 1 race win with Ferrari at the 1995 Canadian Grand Prix before leaving for Benetton when Ferrari overhauled their line-up in 1996 with Schumacher arriving along with Eddie Irvine.
From the get-go, it was clear Irvine was the German’s wingman with that reportedly laid out in Schumacher’s contract.
As such Alesi reckons he wouldn’t have been happy having someone like Hamilton as a team-mate.
“Michael Schumacher, as I know him, as he thought and acted, would never have wanted Lewis Hamilton in the team at his side,” he added.
Hamilton’s switch to Ferrari is bad news for Carlos Sainz with the Spaniard dropped by the team, who a week prior to the Hamilton announcement re-signed Charles Leclerc on a long-term deal.
Sainz has been linked to Mercedes in what would be a straight swap, with Sauber, Aston Martin and Williams also said to be options.
Alesi has been critical of Ferrari’s handling of the situation, saying about Sainz: “A true gentleman of motorsports who is currently in an uncomfortable and undeserved situation.”