‘Problem’ with Lewis Hamilton to Ferrari move identified by Bernie Ecclestone

Michelle Foster
Lewis Hamilton pensive in a press conference. Saudi Arabia March 2023

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton pensive in a press conference. Saudi Arabia March 2023

Bernie Ecclestone has weighed in on the rumours linking Lewis Hamilton to Ferrari, saying it won’t happen, after all if Charles Leclerc is so “happy” to jump ship then there has to be a big problem over at Maranello.

Yet to commit his future to Mercedes despite Toto Wolff saying that a contract for 2024 would be in place before the winter was over, there have been suggestions Hamilton is waiting to see whether Mercedes’ upgraded W14 begins to solve some of their problems.

And if not, well then a move to a rival team or even retirement could be on the cards.

Ecclestone, however, doesn’t see either of those happening as he believes Hamilton will want to push on with Mercedes as he chases that record-breaking eighth World title.

As for the Ferrari part of the rumours that suggests he could make a straight swap with Leclerc, the 92-year-old questions why Hamilton would want to join a team that’s lead driver is all too happy to get out.

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He told Press Association: “I would be surprised that Ferrari would want to get rid of Leclerc to sign Lewis because they are very much in love with Leclerc.

“Lewis has said that when he does decide to stop he would still want to be connected with Mercedes so it would surprise me if he wanted to leave.

“And if I was Lewis and I saw that Leclerc is happy to leave Ferrari, I would think there has to be a problem there.

“I also don’t know why Lewis would think he would be better off at Ferrari than where he is at the moment.

“He knows everything well and truly at Mercedes. They know him, and they have a lot of respect for him so he couldn’t be better looked after anywhere.”

According to Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko, what Hamilton really wants is a pay rise.

The 80-year-old recently told F1-Insider that there are two things that annoy Hamilton, one being that he is “no longer World Champion and will have a hard time becoming one again in the future” with neither Mercedes nor Ferrari showing signs of being able to challenge Red Bull.

The other thing, says Marko, is that Max Verstappen’s salary is reportedly $20 million higher than Hamilton’s with Mercedes.

“Lewis is anything but happy about the fact that he is no longer the best-earning driver in Formula 1,” Marko claimed. “That is now Max Verstappen. At least he could change that with Ferrari’s help.”

But while the speculation continues, Hamilton has made it clear he wants to continue in Formula 1 – and do so with Mercedes.

“I thought about and watched the Ferrari drivers on the screens at the track and of course you wonder what it would be like to be in red,” he recently told ESPN. “But then I go to my team, to Mercedes, and this is my home. I’m happy where I am. I haven’t signed a contract yet, but we are working on one.”