The wheels of the Formula 1 world are spinning with chatter about Lewis Hamilton’s potential shift to Ferrari, even as the seven-time World Champion has denied the rumour. As Hamilton’s contract with Mercedes approaches its 2023 expiry date, Peter Windsor, the ex-team manager of Williams and Ferrari and current F1 pundit, adds an unexpected twist. He advises Hamilton to consider a move only if Ferrari puts forth a substantial offer of at least £80 million.
John Elkann, the president of Ferrari, has allegedly proposed a £40 million deal for Hamilton, reported by Mail Sport. The offer invites Hamilton to join forces with Charles Leclerc for the 2024 season. Yet, Hamilton promptly denied these allegations during his appearance in Monte Carlo. He gave his assurance that he is almost ready to extend his contract with Mercedes, his home team since 2013, and has no plans to seek other pastures.
Ferrari’s team principal, Fred Vasseur, is no stranger to these seasonal gossips and although he quashed them, his longing for Hamilton to join his squad was apparent. Vasseur expressed, “Every single team on the grid would like to have Hamilton at one stage.”
Addressing the subject on YouTube, Peter Windsor asserted:
“I’ve seen a few numbers bandied around. One was £40million.
“If I was Lewis Hamilton, I’d be going for a lot more than £40million because you could argue that Lewis, with the Ferrari brand and what he could do for the Ferrari brand, should be thinking in terms of at least £50m just for PR and brand turnaround.
“And then how much is he worth as a driver, as a pure race driver? You’d have to say £25-30m.
“Forty? I would say about 80 would be more logical.
“And if they’re not going to pay that sort of money, I don’t think he should do it. I think he should stay at Mercedes and look for some long-term deal at Mercedes and continue.
“Because what you don’t want to do if you’re Lewis Hamilton is leave Mercedes just as they’re going to be competitive because the odds are, having been uncompetitive for so long, that a team that big and that good will eventually find a way.
“That’s another issue for Lewis, so he may well stay where he is and it could be the money that decides it.
“If I was managing Lewis and it was £40million, I’d say: ‘Nah, stay where you are.’
“Ferrari [is a] huge brand for Lewis Hamilton to put his name to. Massive. And that’s [worth] a lot more than a £40million deal in my view.”
“If Lewis is going to Ferrari, it’s such a big unknown in terms of how competitive that car would be that, if I was Lewis, I wouldn’t go for less than 80,” Windsor continued.
“I did say £100m to a mate the other day and he said: ‘That’s a bit much, isn’t it?’
“I said: ‘OK, let’s bring it down to 80…’
“But 40? You’ve got to be joking. If he does it for 40, hats off to him because it means he’s just doing it for the love of the sport.
“I’m not decrying the enormity of £40million, but I’m just saying for that he might as well stay at Mercedes really.”
Hamilton’s conundrum doesn’t end with the price tag. He must weigh the competitiveness of the Ferrari team, who last won a World Championship title back in 2008 and had their most recent victory in early 2022. However, with a new sidepod concept launching at the Spanish Grand Prix, could this be the turnaround Ferrari has been waiting for?
Though he hasn’t tasted victory since late 2021, Hamilton’s robust representation of the sport cannot be underestimated.