Lewis Hamilton 'absolutely certain' to move to Ferrari says F1 legend
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F1 legend and former team owner Eddie Jordan believes F1 should prepare for a bombshell defection next year with six-time world champion Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes boss Toto Wolff “absolutely certain” to move to Ferrari.
The claim comes after months of speculation surrounding Hamilton and a move to the prancing horse, which he has yet to deny.
Hamilton won the season-ending grand prix in Abu Dhabi as a victory lap on another title-winning campaign and admitted he is weighing up his options, refusing to rule out meeting Ferrari chairman John Elkann.
Ferrari CEO Louis Camilleri confirmed there had been some conversations between Hamilton and Elkann, but they were very early.
“It is common knowledge that Lewis has had conversations with (Elkann),” Camilleri told reporters at Ferrari headquarters at Maranello.
“(But) that was a little exaggerated. While it was at a social event, they have mutual friends.
“The fact is we have a long-term agreement with one driver and with the other driver the agreement expires at the end of 2020,” he said.
“We clearly are very flattered that Lewis in particular, and other drivers want to come and join us, but it would be premature to decide anything today. It would be premature to decide anything now for the future.”
But the denial has done little to quash the rumours surrounding a move.
Hamilton, who is contracted to Mercedes until the end of 2020, has been widely linked to a move to Ferrari when his deal expires — and left the door ajar for such a switch to occur.
Jordan, the former Jordan team owner, told Top Gear that 2021 was shaping as the right time to go — and that Hamilton would drag Wolff with him.
Jordan has long been involved in motorsport and launched Eddie Jordan racing, which eventually evolved into the F1 in 1991.
The team gave opportunities to the likes of world champions Damon Hill and Michael Schumacher.
And Jordan believes 2021 is the “right time for Lewis to go to Ferrari”.
“The real belief that I think Lewis will go to Ferrari in 2021 is that Toto Wolff’s contract expires at the end of next year,” Jordan said. “He knows Mercedes’ long-term future in Formula 1 is not a certainty.
“Indeed, Lewis has mentioned Toto’s contract on more than one occasion, which is unusual for an F1 driver to do.
“Lewis would only go to Ferrari if someone could protect him against any possibility that Charles Leclerc could usurp him. So Ferrari would bring Toto along too.
“But what they don’t have is that person on the pit wall to guide the team, in terms of how they structure the race strategy. Toto knows that. Racing is in his blood, and he’d love to have a name like Ferrari on his CV too.
“I’m absolutely certain that in 2021, Lewis Hamilton will move to Ferrari. Toto goes with him, because as I said, Lewis won’t leave himself exposed, and it will be his way of bringing an equaliser. Do Ferrari need two number ones? No, but they won’t let go of (Charles) Leclerc.”
While it would be tough for Leclerc to be stuck behind yet another world champion, Jordan said it would be a great proving ground for the Monegasque.
Jordan also said a huge swap could be on the cards with the potential for Ferrari star Sebastian Vettel to move over to Mercedes.
“Vettel will retire at the end of 2020. He can’t go back to Red Bull because he’d get creamed by Max Verstappen,” Jordan said. “However, if Mercedes did decide to stay on in F1, it might work for Vettel to go there; a consolation prize for losing Lewis.”