Published On: Wed, May 24th, 2023
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Lewis Hamilton fired ‘retirement home’ warning as Bernie Ecclestone weighs in on exit | F1 | Sport

A reported £40million contract could apparently be offered to Hamilton by Ferrari, who are willing to help him beat their legendary former driver Michael Schumacher’s record of seven World Championships. Hamilton’s Mercedes deal is due to expire at the end of this season. 

It was claimed earlier this week that negotiations over the contract are ‘not only advanced’, but that Ferrari president Johan Elkann was in direct communication with Hamilton. Mercedes’ struggles in recent years have impacted the Briton, who has not won a race since 2021. 

However, former F1 chief Ecclestone believes the move does not make sense, given the lack of certainty over Ferrari’s ability to win a Championship in the near future. Star driver Charles Leclerc has not yet come close. 

Ecclestone also warns that the Italian-based team is not a retirement home for Hamilton to see out his career. “I would be surprised that Ferrari would want to get rid of Leclerc to sign Lewis because they are very much in love with Leclerc,” the 92-year-old told PA media. 

“Lewis has said that when he does decide to stop he would still want to be connected with Mercedes so it would surprise me if he wanted to leave. And if I was Lewis and I saw that Leclerc is happy to leave Ferrari, I would think there has to be a problem there.

“I also don’t know why Lewis would think he would be better off at Ferrari than where he is at the moment. He knows everything well and truly at Mercedes. They know him, and they have a lot of respect for him so he couldn’t be better looked after anywhere.

“Ferrari is not a retirement home either. They want to win the world championship more than anyone. So personally, I think he will stay as Mercedes, or he will retire.”

Mercedes are supposedly keen for Hamilton to extend his 10-year stay with the Silver Arrows. However, team principal Toto Wolff has admitted that discussions are tough and ‘uncomfortable’, due to the close relationship between the pair. 

Wolff said last week: “It’s just uncomfortable that two friends, two blood brothers who have been through thick and thin for ten years, suddenly have to discuss money.

“I’m firmly convinced that we’ll find each other, there’s not a millimetre of doubt for me. I can’t imagine anything else. If we give Lewis a competitive car, he will win for a long time. Look at Tom Brady and what he was still capable of in his 40s.”

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