Former Ferrari engineer Rob Smedley does not think Ferrari will immediately appoint a number one and a number two within the team when Lewis Hamilton arrives. In Smedley’s opinion, Charles Leclerc and the seven-time world champion can learn a lot from each other. Ferrari will hope to have to manage both drivers, which would mean they are both fighting for the title.
The arrival of Hamilton at Ferrari would mean that the Italian racing team actually has two leading drivers. The Brit was clearly the leader of the team at Mercedes, and Ferrari also seemed to have a preference for Leclerc. Although the team from Maranello has never really stated this, many think it is clear that Leclerc is the first driver within Ferrari. What about when Hamilton arrives later? “My feeling is that they wouldn’t really think in those terms at this point. Lewis will be able to teach him a lot,” Smedley thinks in the F1 Nation podcast.
‘And it will facilitate an improvement in Charles. That’s a win-win. At some point, of course, they will have to manage the drivers. And if Lewis and Charles are favorites for the championship, then that is a luxury problem,” says the former Ferrari engineer. “Ferrari hopes they will have to manage both drivers.” That would mean that both drivers are fighting for the title. “I think Vasseur is a very strong manager in that area, and he will have no problems managing both drivers and getting the best out of it for the team.”
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Can Hamilton bring the title back to Maranello? ‘He can be a catalyst’
After Kimi Räikkönen, several multiple world champions have tried to win a title with Ferrari. Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso didn’t succeed, but Hamilton may succeed. “He’s such a consummate professional. He will approach every aspect of the team,” Smedley said. ‘The main difference compared to when Fernando was there is that in the last few years they have actually shown their potential, even last year. The only team that, occasionally, was able to challenge the Red Bull. Especially in the qualifications.’
Leclerc managed to steal pole position from Red Bull several times, but was unable to hold onto first position on Sunday. It is clear that things have to be better on Sundays. “Lewis can certainly be a catalyst for the team to improve the areas they need to challenge for the world title. And when you start winning, it actually takes effort to stop.”