Lewis Hamilton’s contract negotiations with Ferrari were said to be “unusually swift” with one lawyer claiming it was the quickest they’d ever been involved in Formula 1.
Hamilton and Ferrari shocked the world of motorsport last week when it was confirmed after a day of speculation that the Briton would be leaving Mercedes to join the Scuderia.
Hamilton activated his option to exit in his Mercedes contract, allowing him to leave after just one year into the two-year extension that he only signed last August.
The Lewis Hamilton-Ferrari negotiations were ‘very easy’ once they sat down
It was a decision that surprised Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff when Hamilton broke it to him over a breakfast meeting the day before the announcements were made.
“The surprise was that I’ve heard the rumours a couple of days earlier but wanted to wait for the breakfast we had planned, and it was Wednesday morning, and this is when he broke the news,” Wolff told the media, including PlanetF1.com’s Thomas Maher.
It was, reports the Guardian, in part because everything happened so quickly.
The British newspaper claims that the ‘negotiations were exceptionally, unusually swift, with one lawyer citing the contract as the quickest they had dealt with in F1.
‘Ferrari were apparently “excited” from the moment the two sides began talks and unafraid to make a commitment. Hamilton’s current salary is estimated at around £40m.’
What has yet to be revealed is who made the first contact in January, was it Hamilton or was it Ferrari.
Because it does seem from Wolff’s comments that the negotiations began last month, or perhaps in December.
“We were very aligned when we went into the Christmas period,” revealed Wolff, “and I think we’ve said that in public and in the team.
“You need to ask Lewis why he changed his mind.”
Either way, a source told the Guardian that once Hamilton and Ferrari “started talking it was very easy”.
Hamilton’s deal with Ferrari is reportedly worth a staggering $446million.
That includes a pay packet just north of $87m for 2025, with the option to extend for 2026, of which a quarter will go into funding Hamilton’s Mission 44, as well as a joint-investment fund through Ferrari’s parent brand Exor that’s said to be worth over $272m. French publication Sportune says Hamilton will serve as the ambassador of the portfolio.
Meanwhile, Hamilton has called his seismic move to Ferrari a “childhood dream”.
“The time has come for me to start a new chapter in my life and I will be joining Ferrari in 2025,” he said in a social media statement.
“I feel incredibly fortunate, after achieving things with Mercedes that I could only have dreamed of as a kid, that I now have the chance to fulfil another childhood dream. Driving in Ferrari red.”
“The time is right to make a change and take on a new challenge,” he added. “I still remember the feeling of taking a leap of faith into the unknown when I first joined Mercedes in 2013.
“I know some people didn’t understand it at the time but I was right to make the move then and it’s the feeling I have again now.
“I’m excited to see what I can bring to this new opportunity and what we can do together.”