FEBRUARY 2, 2024

Even Batman may not win in a 2025 Ferrari says Briatore

Many of the most well-known names in the Formula 1 paddock are already chewing over Lewis Hamilton's shock decision to scrap his Mercedes deal for 2025 in order to move to Ferrari.

Lewis Hamilton, Monaco GP 2023
© Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

I'm very surprised, said former Renault boss Flavio Briatore, "but he must have his reasons.

The only thing I can say is that I wish Ferrari and Lewis the best. But I am surprised because Mercedes has done a lot for him, the Italian told Italian source Lapresse.

Do I agree with the choice? Briatore continued. I don't know. First of all he needs a good car, because you can have Batman at the wheel but if it's not competitive the driver will not make the difference.

Another Italian, former F1 driver Jarno Trulli, agrees, telling La Repubblica newspaper that even a seven time world champion "does not give you a guarantee of winning.

"For me, honestly, it looks better for Hamilton than for Ferrari. He will remain in the history of Mercedes, whilst realising a dream at the age of 40.

He will drive a Ferrari knowing that everything he had to win in his career is won already. Maranello, however, has other dreams - to win new titles.

Some are likening Hamilton's move to what the great Michael Schumacher did at the end of 1995. Schumacher's brother Ralf commented: "I think it could be the right move for Lewis.

There are many drivers who would like to drive a Ferrari before finishing their career and he is one of them, the German added.

"I think Vasseur was a key factor in Lewis' decision. He (Vasseur) has already done an excellent job changing the team and now can take that work to another level.

I haven't spoken to Lewis, Schumacher added, but I don't think he did it because Michael did. I just think it's something he wants to do, for everything Ferrari represents in the history of F1 and, of course, he's looking to win his eighth world championship.

Former Red Bull driver Robert Doornbos agrees: "Ferrari could easily take the advantage with the new regulations in 2026. It's a gamble, yes, but every driver - world champion or not - dreams of putting on that iconic red suit and trying to take victory in a red car.

Don't forget that Ferrari have not been champions since Kimi Raikkonen. Big names like Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel tried but they failed. Can Lewis break the pattern?

Another ex-F1 driver, Christijan Albers, has no criticism of Hamilton's big move.

It's the right time for him to do something different, he told the Dutch magazine Formule 1. "Mercedes' dominance in the hybrid period is over. They are stagnating. So as a driver it's good to look ahead.

"I've heard a lot of people say that (Charles) Leclerc and Hamilton's driving styles are so different, but that's not an issue. They are both guys who know how to customise a car.

The arrival of Hamilton also means an enormous boost for Ferrari in terms of self-confidence and commitment. It's huge for Ferrari, Albers added.

As for what Carlos Sainz will do next, Trulli thinks the 29-year-old Spaniard will take it on the chin and move on.

He knows very well that these are the dynamics of Formula 1, said the former Renault and Toyota driver. "Ferrari took an opportunity and signed a seven-time world champion - what are you going to say about that?

Sainz is still young. He will certainly find a good alternative.

The smart money is on Sainz following his famous father into the Audi camp, whilst others think a neat solution for Mercedes would be to slot the Spaniard alongside George Russell for 2025.

I don't think Sainz suits Mercedes, despite the fact that he won one race last season, Christijan Albers said. Alexander Albon? To be honest, I think he's a little bit overrated. Just look at who he has driving next to him at Williams, he added, referring to Logan Sargeant.