Lewis Hamilton 'absolutely certain' for bombshell Formula 1 switch

Sam Goodwin
·Sports Editor

Formula 1 legend Eddie Jordan says Lewis Hamilton is ‘absolutely certain’ to make a bombshell move from Mercedes to Ferrari.

The futures of Hamilton and current Ferrari ace Sebastian Vettel have been up in the air for months, but Jordan believes the uncertain times at Mercedes will see Hamilton and boss Toto Wolff switch allegiances.

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Ferrari CEO Louis Camilleri recently admitted there had been conversations with Hamilton.

“It is common knowledge that Lewis has had conversations with (Ferrari chairman John Elkann),” Camilleri said.

“(But) that was a little exaggerated. While it was at a social event, they have mutual friends.

“The fact is we have a long-term agreement with one driver and with the other driver the agreement expires at the end of 2020.

“We clearly are very flattered that Lewis in particular, and other drivers want to come and join us, but it would be premature to decide anything today. It would be premature to decide anything now for the future.”

Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton, pictured here at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton. (Photo by Charles Coates/Getty Images)

But Jordan, the former owner of Eddie Jordan racing, recently told Top Gear that Hamilton will be at Ferrari at 2021 - and so will Wolff.

“The real belief that I think Lewis will go to Ferrari in 2021 is that Toto Wolff’s contract expires at the end of next year,” Jordan said. “He knows Mercedes’ long-term future in Formula 1 is not a certainty.

“Indeed, Lewis has mentioned Toto’s contract on more than one occasion, which is unusual for an F1 driver to do.

“Lewis would only go to Ferrari if someone could protect him against any possibility that Charles Leclerc could usurp him. So Ferrari would bring Toto along too.

“But what they don’t have is that person on the pit wall to guide the team, in terms of how they structure the race strategy. Toto knows that. Racing is in his blood, and he’d love to have a name like Ferrari on his CV too.

“I’m absolutely certain that in 2021, Lewis Hamilton will move to Ferrari. Toto goes with him, because as I said, Lewis won’t leave himself exposed, and it will be his way of bringing an equaliser. Do Ferrari need two number ones? No, but they won’t let go of (Charles) Leclerc.”

Jordan also said Vettel could be involved in a direct swap with Hamilton - if he chooses not to retire.

“Vettel will retire at the end of 2020. He can’t go back to Red Bull because he’d get creamed by Max Verstappen,” Jordan said.

“However, if Mercedes did decide to stay on in F1, it might work for Vettel to go there; a consolation prize for losing Lewis.”

Charles Leclerc, pictured here in action for Ferrari.
Charles Leclerc is Ferrari's future. Image: Getty

Ferrari focusing on Leclerc?

Meanwhile, Camilleri pointed out that Ferrari have a "long-term agreement" with Charles Leclerc, the 22-year-old driver from Monaco who joined the team in 2015 and is under contract until the 2022 season.

Leclerc is the junior driver to Vettel, whose contract at Ferrari ends after the 2020 season.

"We need to see both the performances, the way he adapts to the car (for the 2020 season) and his motivation for the future," said Binotto of 32-year-old Vettel.

"It's not about whether he'll make mistakes or not," he continued, "it's really about how he sees his future and how we see our team."

But 2021 will in any case be "too early" for one of the young drivers to move up from the Ferrari Driver Academy, the Italian said.

"It will be important to have drivers with some (Formula One) experience because the cars will be completely new," added Binotto.

Among these is 20-year-old Mick Schumacher, son of Ferrari legend Michael, who finished 12th in his first season in Formula 2.

"We're expecting a lot from him next year because he'll have a season behind him and we're pretty sure he is a good candidate for F1 in the future," added Binotto.

"Will he be a good candidate for Ferrari? It really is too early to say."

with AFP