Hamilton opens up on plans to remain in F1 ahead of 2023 season
Ferrari are prepared to lose one of their drivers in a bid to secure the services of Lewis Hamilton, according to reports. The Italian marque are understood to have two scenarios on the table with Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz both at risk of losing their seats.
It comes as details of a possible £40million a year move for Hamilton emerges, with talks already ongoing, says The Mail. The first and most preferred option would see Hamilton join Leclerc from the start of the 2023 season.
The deal would see Carlos Sainz get sacked from the team just three seasons into his Ferrari career. This would create one of the strongest driver line-ups on the grid and issue a statement of intent on the team’s ambitions for success.
However, the squad would effectively have two star drivers in the team which may cause issues in any future title battle. Tensions rose at Red Bull when Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel were partnered up while a similar situation emerged between Hamilton and Nico Rosberg at the Silver Arrows.
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The second option would see the team letting Leclerc go to Mercedes in a bid to get the Hamilton deal over the line. It could see Leclerc partner George Russell from 2023 in a major grid switch-up.
However, rumours of talks have been ongoing for a while with Leclerc forced to address the speculation ahead of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. Italian media claimed it was an “open secret” Leclerc was speaking to Mercedes after Ferrari’s early season struggles.
Asked directly if he had held talks with team boss Toto Wolff, Leclerc said: “No. Zero. Zero. Really zero. You all smile because you don’t believe me, but I promise.”
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But, Leclerc refused to rule out a future move to Mercedes. He added: “For now, I am fully focused on the project I am in today, which is Ferrari and I fully trust and am confident for the future. Then we will see, but I am fully confident for the project of Ferrari.”
Lewis Hamilton has repeatedly denied he is interested in joining another team as he pledged his allegiance to Mercedes.
Hamilton explained: “I like where I am, I love my team, and I’m grateful for the journey we’ve been on and what we’re working on moving forwards.” However, he has yet to put pen to paper on a new deal with his current contract expiring within months.
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