Published On: Wed, Apr 10th, 2024

Lewis Hamilton dismissed again as ex-F1 driver slams Ferrari move | F1 | Sport

Another Formula One figure has slated Lewis Hamilton’s move to Ferrari next season, after the Brit opted to leave Mercedes to join Charles Leclerc in 2025. Hamilton and Mercedes have struggled while Ferrari appear to be the closest rival to Red Bull, but their pairing has not been seen as an exciting prospect by all parties.

Questions have already been raised over whether Ferrari are making a mistake in ousting Carlos Sainz for Hamilton, as the Spanish driver is the only one on the grid outside of Max Verstappen to have a race win in either 2023 or 2024.

Former Williams driver Thierry Boutsen has become the latest pundit to openly disagree with Ferrari’s plans for next season. The three-time Grand Prix winner feels that a driver can no longer elevate a team and if Hamilton can compete at the top of the grid, as Ferrari feels that he can, the 39-year-old would have done so last season with Mercedes.

Boutsen told PlanetF1: “I think a driver cannot bring a team to the top. This is no longer the case – it was possible in the 1970s. And the ’80s. Maybe a little bit in the ’90s but, since then, it’s no longer possible.

“Otherwise, he would have beaten Verstappen last year, the year before, and would be winning the championship this year. Drivers are no longer involved in the development of the car, it’s more the computers and the engineers that build the car.

“But, to be the driver to bring Ferrari to this level, I don’t see that. If the Ferrari goes back to that level, it’s because they make a car that is capable of winning and, joining Ferrari at the end of this year, how much time will he have to build the team around him to build the car?”

It is a theory echoed around the F1 paddock, with ex-team founder Giancarlo Minardi of the same opinion. The Italian praised the commercial aspect of luring Hamilton to Ferrari, but admitted that he would not have made the same decision if the goal was to win championships.

“If we talk about marketing, it’s a brilliant operation, so hats off to John Elkann. But if we talk about Formula 1 then the situation changes,” Minardi said.

“There are different dimensions. I am not naive, I understand the reasons that I will define as a commercial of the great agreement between a seven-time champion of the world and the Lady in Red. It is a meeting between myth and legend. However, I, speaking instead of motorsport and that’s it, wouldn’t have taken someone like Hamilton.

“They have not been without titles for a generation due to the responsibility of those behind the wheel. It follows that Hamilton is no guarantee of success. Just as Sebastian Vettel wasn’t. In F1 it is essential to have a winning car. You don’t build a house from the roof, but from the foundations.”

Ex-F1 driver Jarno Trulli feels that replacing Sainz with Hamilton will not bridge the gap to Red Bull enough and the driver instead will be the sole party benefiting, rather than the team.

“Lewis is fulfilling his boyhood dream, but the switch alone is not enough: the Red Bulls are currently unbeatable,” Trulli claimed. “The news hit like a bomb: a seven-time world champion going to the most important and prestigious team. But it’s not like it changes things.

“You can field as many champions as you want, but if the car and the team cannot compete, the result with Hamilton will not change much compared to the results of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz. Sure, you have a champion who is still one of the best drivers on the market, with a lot of experience, even if he is getting on in age. But that does not give you a guarantee to win.

“The priority is to win titles, not to have a seven-time world champion in the house. Frankly, I think Hamilton is going to benefit more from this than Ferrari.”

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