Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari team principal Fred Vasseur have reportedly been in touch for some time.
Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari team boss Fred Vasseur have reportedly been in “constant dialogue” amid the controversy over the British racer’s contract extension.
At the end of the 2023 season, Hamilton’s deal with Mercedes is scheduled to expire. The seven-time world champion has often promised to renew his contract with the Silver Arrows.
Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff caused a stir when he said that the contract negotiations were “emotionally done.” Wolff stated they had reached the “lawyers speaking to lawyers” stage during the Belgian Grand Prix last month, hinting that an agreement was in place.
Hamilton, though, has given rise to rumors about his future. This comes after the British driver was highly rumored to be moving to the Scuderia in May.
According to rumours, Ferrari president John Elkann personally intervened in efforts to hire Hamilton.
Vasseur, the Frenchman who oversaw Hamilton’s historic, championship-winning GP2 campaign in 2006, is well known to have strong connections with him.
This transpired immediately before his promotion to F1 with McLaren, where he won his first title in 2008.
“I talk to him at every GP, he raced for me 20 years ago and we are still close,” Vasseur told Italian media sources. “I helped him when he went to McLaren at the beginning of his F1 career and we talk from time to time.
“Clearly if we are seen together in the paddock a fuss comes out, but the relationship has remained.
“I don’t want to compare him to our drivers, that would not make sense. But the contribution of a top driver is not only driving.
“It’s also technical, strategy, help in hiring an engineer. And in this case if you have Hamilton, [Max] Verstappen but also Leclerc it’s easier.
“Those who work in F1 are passionate about racing, they like to work with Champions.”
Vasseur said at the Monaco Grand Prix that no team would pass up the chance to sign a driver of Hamilton’s stature in light of the May rumors tying him to Ferrari. The Frenchman insisted, though, that no approach had been made.
“We are not sending an offer to Lewis Hamilton, we didn’t do it,” he commented. “We didn’t have discussions.”
“I think every single team on the grid would like to have Hamilton at one stage, it would be bull**** to not say something like this.”
Recent criticism of Vasseur and the Ferrari crew has also come from the biased Italian media. Ferrari was described as a “shrimp in retreat” by the newspaper Corriere della Sera after the Hungarian Grand Prix last month.
Hamilton initially joined Mercedes from McLaren ten years ago following the introduction of F1’s V6 hybrid rules in 2014. Hamilton won six titles in seven years to tie Michael Schumacher’s long-standing record of seven World Championships.
The following year, he became the first driver in history to achieve 100 grand prix victories, although he hasn’t claimed a victory since the penultimate race of the 2021 season in Saudi Arabia.