Ted Kravitz reveals ‘personal theory’ behind Lewis Hamilton’s move to Ferrari

Oliver Harden
A split image of Ayrton Senna and Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton is set to do what Ayrton Senna was cruelly denied: ending his F1 career with Ferrari

Sky F1’s pit-lane reporter Ted Kravitz has shared his “personal theory” that Lewis Hamilton’s decision to join Ferrari was inspired by his admiration for Ayrton Senna.

Hamilton announced earlier this month that he will leave Mercedes for Ferrari at the end of 2024, with the most decorated driver in F1 history set to join forces with the sport’s most successful team in 2025.

The seven-time World Champion’s decision to leave Mercedes comes after two winless seasons in 2022/23, with Hamilton without a race victory since the penultimate round of the 2021 campaign in Saudi Arabia.

Lewis Hamilton’s Ferrari move inspired by Ayrton Senna?

Over the course of his career, Hamilton has consistently likened himself to boyhood idol Senna, the Brazilian driver who won three World Championships in four years with McLaren between 1988 and 1991.

Senna was killed in an accident at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix at Imola while driving for Williams. Since his death, it has emerged that Senna was keen to join Ferrari in the latter stages of his career with former chairman Luca di Montezemolo claiming in 2020 that the Brazilian had approached him with a view to signing for the Scuderia.

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Asked about his biggest regret while in charge of Ferrari, Di Montezemolo told Sky Italia: “Not having signed Ayrton Senna.

“He came to my house in Bologna before the Imola accident and told me that he wanted to drive for us at all costs and to free himself from Williams.

“We agreed to speak after Imola, but then what happened. He wanted to come to us and I would have been happy to have him.

“It would have been the icing on the cake, which was then Michael Schumacher who entered Ferrari history because nobody did what he did.”

Di Montzemolo’s claims were supported by former Ferrari team principal Jean Todt, who revealed in 2021 that he offered a deal to Senna shortly after arriving at Maranello in 1993.

He told beIN Sports: “A few weeks after I arrived, I met Ayrton Senna during the Monza weekend at the hotel we were staying at on Lake Como.

“I offered him to switch to Ferrari in 1995, but he was pushing for 1994.

“We already had two drivers under contract, Jean Alesi and Gerhard Berger, so we couldn’t satisfy his request and when Ayrton asked why I explained the situation to him.

“He didn’t give up, telling me that in Formula 1 contracts don’t count, but I replied that for me a contract has to be respected.

“So we offered him a deal for 1995, but unfortunately we know what happened.”

In an interview with Senna’s former Toleman colleague Pat Symonds during F1 TV’s coverage of pre-season testing in Bahrain, Kravitz claimed Hamilton’s decision to join Ferrari could have been motivated by a desire to do what Senna was cruelly denied.

He said: “I have a personal theory: he spent a lot of his Christmas and New Year in Brazil and we know that Ayrton was always Lewis’s childhood hero.

“Of course, you knew Ayrton Senna very well and I don’t think it’s any secret that after his Williams drive, Ayrton wanted to finish his career at Ferrari – I think that’s been documented over the years.”

Symonds agreed, claiming Hamilton’s move could prove to be a masterstroke in light of Ferrari’s encouraging progress last season when the Scuderia were the only team other than Red Bull to win a race.

He replied: “I think there is something in that actually, Ted.

“These guys are sportsmen at heart and there is that romanticism about it. Ferrari is a name, it’s what every kid dreams.

“I think he’s achieved so much. Is that a gamble worth taking? Yes, of course it is. Of course it is.

“And let’s face it, Ferrari were quick last year. Ferrari were better than their Championship results really showed.

“There were times when they shot themselves in the foot but, fundamentally, they had a car that was very quick in qualifying and was reasonable – not as quick as Red Bull, but reasonable in the race.

“So if they’re putting in place things to take that further, it could be a very good move.”

 

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