Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes contract has a clause preventing Ferrari ‘poaching’

Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes contract has a clause preventing Ferrari 'poaching'

According to recent reports, there is a secret clause in Lewis Hamilton’s contract included by his current team Mercedes as he is set to switch to Ferrari in 2025.

There is a stipulation in Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes contract classified as a “non-poaching” clause that prevents the seven-time world champion from taking key staff to Ferrari.

The announcement last week that Lewis Hamilton would be leaving Mercedes at the end of the 2024 season to sign a multi-year contract with Ferrari and begin racing alongside Charles Leclerc in 2025 shocked the Formula One community.

Although the actual duration of the contract has not yet been officially revealed, rumours suggest that it is a two-year deal with a one-year extension option in 2027.

By the time the 2024 season winds down, Hamilton will have driven for Mercedes for the last 11 years. The German automaker has played an active role in the Brit’s F1 career for over 25 years, having supplied engines and held a stake in the McLaren team during his time there.

The main topic of interest after the announcement immediately shifted to whether Hamilton’s long-serving race engineer Peter Bonnington ‘Bono’ and other Mercedes team staff might accompany him to Maranello.

Since Hamilton joined Mercedes in 2013, the two have been working together, with Bonnington overseeing 81 of Hamilton’s 82 Grand Prix victories as well as six of his championship titles.

His ‘It’s Hammertime’ and ‘Get in there, Lewis!’ calls have made him one of the most popular race engineers in the paddock. The only race victory he has missed at Mercedes is the 2019 Mexican Grand Prix as he also missed the 2022 Austrian GP, where Hamilton finished third.

Mercedes team Principal Toto Wolff said in response to a query from Racetrackmasters that the subject would be one that all parties should discuss in the coming months.

“I think this is a discussion which everyone needs to have in the months to come,” Wolff said. “And as much I’ve spoken with Bono already, when I told him [about Hamilton’s move], he said, ‘Is it April the 1st?’ That’s something which we will discuss in the future.”

However, PlanetF1 claims that Ferrari can run into trouble if they attempt to sign key Mercedes personnel to the Italian squad. Officially known as a “non-solicitation” clause, it stipulates that Hamilton is not allowed to ask any member of his crew, including Bonnington, to accompany him to Ferrari.

Nevertheless, that wouldn’t prevent Ferrari from hiring Mercedes employees as they would still be able to arrange their exits from the Silver Arrows or, if necessary, just wait for their contracts to expire.

Thus, in time for the 2025 season we might witness Mercedes team members making the transition.

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