Joe Saward understands Ferrari’s considerations for bringing Lewis Hamilton to Maranello. The arrival of the seven-time world champion could possibly give the Italian racing team a positive boost in several areas. The British journalist can also understand Hamilton’s choice, but it could also be the wrong choice.
Ferrari has been waiting for a drivers’ world title since 2007 and the prospects for ending this long drought are not exactly promising. Since there will be no major changes to the regulations in the next two seasons, Red Bull Racing and Max Verstappen are in good shape after a dominant 2023. The question remains whether Ferrari can close the gap to the Austrian team in the short term.
Although Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz are doing well for the Italian team, Saward can understand Ferrari’s choice to bring Hamilton to Maranello. “I understand why Ferrari wants to invest a lot of money to bring him in,” says Saward in the Missed Apex podcast. The Brit then points out that Ferrari’s longest title-free period was 21 years, this was between 1979 (Jody Scheckter) and 2000 (Michael Schumacher). In 2024, the Italian team will start the seventeenth consecutive season without a world title among the drivers.
Hamilton’s arrival can save Vasseur
Saward thinks that the arrival of Hamilton can also relieve some of the pressure on Frédéric Vasseur. ‘If he doesn’t win the championship this year, he might still be allowed to stay. But if he doesn’t win again in 2025, then probably not again. By bringing in Hamilton, he has a greater chance of surviving at Ferrari. But if this doesn’t work, then his career is doomed. If he does, he will have a big smile on his face, one like Winston Churchill had.”
The British journalist also sees another possible reason for Ferrari to attract Hamilton. ‘I think several people dream about Ferrari, but they have no idea what they will find there. I think it is difficult (for Ferrari) to bring in good staff, but the arrival of Hamilton will certainly make a positive contribution to this. They have tried to bring people to Maranello before, but maybe some of them will now really consider a move,” says Saward.
Ferrari not taking a step back
Although he must admit that he does not fully understand Hamilton’s choice, Saward does not agree with the statement that the seven-time world champion is taking a step back. ‘If you look at the results of last season, both teams are equal. In addition, he also seemed to take a step back when he went to Mercedes, but that was certainly not the case,” Saward points to the six world titles that Hamilton managed to win while serving the German brand.
Nevertheless, Saward is not yet completely convinced that Hamilton will be successful at Ferrari and he mentions a number of greats from the sport who could not live up to the high expectations. ‘Every driver wants to win with Ferrari. The problem is that many of them went to Ferrari but didn’t win. Just look at Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel. And many years earlier it also happened to Alain Prost. That’s not what you want, but of course you want to have been a Ferrari driver. Then you are rated a little higher by the fans than other drivers,” Saward concludes.