F1 Expert On the Positive and Negative Aspects of Hamilton's Decision to Join Ferrari

"This is the gamble aspect, I think, because Mercedes have proved themselves."

by Sead Dedovic
F1 Expert On the Positive and Negative Aspects of Hamilton's Decision to Join Ferrari
© Gareth Cattermole / Getty Images Entertainment

Lewis Hamilton's move to Ferrari has created many dilemmas and uncertainties. Formula 1 fans, as well as F1 experts, still don't know how wise this decision is for the Briton at this moment. Hamilton shocked the entire F1 scene after it was confirmed that he would be part of the Italian team next season. Lewis has spent the best days of his career with Mercedes, and everything hinted that he would end his career there. However, disappointed with Mercedes' decline, Hamilton realized that he needed to seek his happiness elsewhere.

Sky Sports' Craig Slater is one of those questioning how smart Lewis's decision is. The brilliant Briton is 39 years old. Such a decision could turn out to be a complete mistake, but it could also be the opposite. It's challenging to predict whether Hamilton will indeed achieve great things at Ferrari.

“He’s 39 years old and this may be the last opportunity for him to drive for Ferrari,” -Craig Slater said, as quoted by crash.net

“He has previously talked about being happy to finish his career at Mercedes, with whom he has achieved so much.

He says that his idol Ayrton Senna never drove for Ferrari and therefore you can have an iconic career without driving for them.

Is it a gamble in pure racing terms? Well he’s had two winless years. He has seen Red Bull sweep all before them."

Slater raises the question of whether Hamilton can achieve a positive result with Mercedes this season. Looking at the previous three seasons, the German team has regressed and failed to meet its goals. The last season, in particular, was tough for them. Ferrari's F1 engine development for 2026 could be a positive factor for Hamilton. Although he has signed a one-year contract, it is expected that he will likely extend it. 

This could be a great opportunity for the Briton to achieve a great result. Max Verstappen seems unstoppable, and it's evident that Hamilton wants to compete with the Dutchman, but he hasn't succeeded in doing so with Mercedes.

“He has another opportunity this year with Mercedes if they’ve got the car right over the winter to maybe do something, then in 2025 he will be at Ferrari, who have been nip and tuck with Mercedes over this previous period but a good distance behind Red Bull.

Surely the expectation will be that Lewis Hamilton is not just going to do one year at Ferrari, he’s almost certainly agreed to one plus an option of a further year, which would take us into 2026.

New engine regulations come in then. This is the gamble aspect, I think, because Mercedes have proved themselves as the best at making a Formula 1 engine."

Craig Slater predictions

Slater says he expects Hamilton to win another championship within the next year or two. If that doesn't happen, he believes Hamilton's last chance to take a risk is to stay with Mercedes until 2026. During that time, Red Bull might struggle with the new engine rules. 

Slater mentions that Ferrari has a track record of good engine development, so Hamilton's move is seen as a calculated risk. The idea is that by 2026, Ferrari's advancements in engine development could create a favorable situation for Hamilton to aim for more success. 

Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton© Mark Thompson / Getty Images

Hamilton was aware of everything when signing a contract with Ferrari. It's clear that they promised him great things and emphasized that he would be competitive for the top spot. Realizing the ideas and plans that Ferrari has, the Briton decided to become part of this team.

Slater was asked if Hamilton's decision was more emotional than rational, and he responded by highlighting the challenge of ending a sports career. 

He used the example of Cristiano Ronaldo, currently facing decisions about his career. Slater mentioned how Lionel Messi had the World Cup as a potential pinnacle but questioned the difficulty of stepping down when you've had a great career at the very top. 

Regarding Hamilton, Slater suggested that spending a couple of years with Ferrari, following Michael Schumacher's path, could be a way to further improve his legacy. He raised the possibility of Hamilton winning an eighth world title, similar to Schumacher's achievements with Ferrari, as a potential crowning achievement for his career.

Right now, it's hard to say for sure if Hamilton made a good decision. We'll have to wait and see what happens in the future. Hamilton has generally made positive choices in his career. It's clear that he didn't rush into this decision and took a long time to think about whether to join Ferrari or not. Currently, he doesn't have much to risk.

Hamilton Ferrari Mercedes