Lewis Hamilton’s decision to sign for Ferrari was a huge bombshell in the F1 world and is going to have similar repercussions. The Briton labeled the move as a “childhood dream”. That’s all worked out well for Hamilton, as he will now don the red of the Prancing Horse in 2025. However, his arch-rival Fernando Alonso has taken a sly dig at the 39-year-old about his Ferrari “childhood dream” claim.
Alonso spoke to the media after the Aston Martin 2024 car launch, giving his views on the biggest news in F1 forums right now. According to BBC, the #14 driver said about Hamilton’s claims, “It was not his childhood dream 12 months ago, no? Or two months ago I guess because it was a different dream then.”
The Spaniard hit the nail on the head as the seven-time champion had signed up for Mercedes just six months ago. Back then, they revealed that the new deal will run out at the end of 2025.
Even Hamilton cited previously that he wished to end his career at the Silver Arrows only. Cut to February 2024, and the #44 driver has chosen to jump ship to Maranello.
So, Alonso resonates with many people’s doubts currently as to why the Mercedes driver suddenly changed his claims. While Ferrari is a childhood dream for most F1 drivers, Hamilton had explicitly pledged his loyalty to Mercedes.
Naturally, it was a shock to even Toto Wolff, who now has to find a replacement for the 103-time race winner. Wolff cited how they were awaiting confirmation from Hamilton on his 2025 status, as his latest contract was a 1+1 year option deal. The British driver was most likely not satisfied with Mercedes, and thus, exercised his exit clause.
How did Lewis Hamilton suddenly change his mind on Ferrari?
Ferrari had been approaching Lewis Hamilton for several months in 2023. It started with the Monaco GP when Ferrari chairman John Elkann met the Mercedes driver. Since then, Ferrari kept negotiating and offering Hamilton deals to join them. The Briton turned those offers away to sign his current Mercedes deal in late August.
However, the Silver Arrows did not agree to all of Hamilton’s demands, including a longer contract and an ambassadorial role. Thus, his 1+1 year was always a compromise at the outset, and Toto Wolff admittedly knew that.
John Elkann caught wind of the seven-time champion’s availability for 2025 and swooped in with better offerings than Mercedes. Moreover, on track too, Ferrari had been performing better than Mercedes, winning the only race that Red Bull did not last season.
That too may have convinced Hamilton, besides the huge pay hike Elkann offered. Reports suggest the overall worth of Hamilton’s 2+1 year deal at Ferrari is over $400 million. This consists of his yearly salary for 2025 of around $80 to $100 million.
From this, about $20 million is a bonus component as a contribution to the Briton’s off-track initiatives such as Mission 44. Elkann is also looking to give Hamilton the coveted ambassadorial role after 2026 if they decide to extend their contract, contingent on all things going well.