Former Formula 1 driver and Sky Sports analyst Karun Chandhok thinks the timing of Lewis Hamilton’s move to Ferrari suggests he lacked confidence that Mercedes could solve the car’s problem. In addition, the Indian also wonders what team boss Frédéric Vasseur told Hamilton to convince him to leave Mercedes.
The discussions between Ferrari and Hamilton in May 2023 turned out to be a bit more serious than expected. Even though the seven-time world champion signed a multi-year deal with the German racing team in August, he will still leave the team at the end of the 2024 season. ‘It’s kind of the story, isn’t it? After a few mediocre years, he moved on to Ferrari,” says Chandhok in the Sky Sports F1 podcast. ‘And the story of Mansell, who was the last British driver for Ferrari.’
Nigel Mansell drove for the Italian team in 1989 and 1990. 35 years after Mansell’s Ferrari days, a Briton is once again joining the team from Maranello. “The timing of the contract suggests that Hamilton does not trust Mercedes to get themselves out of trouble quickly enough to challenge Max,” Chandhok continued. ‘And after all, Hamilton does not exist to come second. He probably doesn’t even remember how many times he came second. He exists to win.”
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What did Vasseur whisper to Hamilton about the 2026 car?
In addition to Mercedes, Ferrari also had its problems in recent seasons. The Italian racing team has not won a title since 2007. “What has Ferrari told him that will be so special about the 2026 car?” Chandhok wonders. ‘2024 and 2025 are going to be those in-between years. So what did John Elkann (CEO, ed.) and Vasseur Hamilton say about 2026? Didn’t he say he wanted to ride in silver for the rest of his life, like Moss and Fangio?’
Chandhok emphasizes that Hamilton signed Mercedes’ paperwork in August. ‘After George and Lewis had both extended their contracts for two years, she probably thought: the hassle with the drivers is now done, now we can focus on the car. That was five months ago and the new season hasn’t even started yet,” Chandhok said.
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