Lewis Hamilton dropped a bombshell on the F1 world with the announcement of his Ferrari move. Daniel Ricciardo, however, is not among the ones caught by surprise. The only thing that startled the Aussie driver was the timing of the move.
Speaking with Racer’s Chris Medland, Ricciardo said, “I was just more thrown by the timing, I think. Obviously, I don’t know the internal stuff that goes on there, so obviously there’s reasons why it got announced as early as it did. But that part was what threw me more than him going to Ferrari.”
While picturing Hamilton donning the red overalls wasn’t difficult for Ricciardo, it certainly was for many. The reason behind that was his commitment to Mercedes. Hamilton ruled out a move away from Brackley in every interview and praised the team for promoting his charitable initiatives.
However, Ferrari, through its 7-plus decades of legacy in F1, has become the holy grail for every driver. Sebastian Vettel, who had four world championships under his belt, drove the Maranello-based team for six years.
That was despite their inability to win a championship in years. It was during that six-year stint when Vettel made the iconic claim: “Everyone is a Ferrari fan. Even if they say they’re not, they are Ferrari fans.”
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The Hamilton-Ferrari deal has become arguably the biggest driver switch in the history of F1. We still have a year before the move will take place. The ripple effect, however, has already begun.
The Prancing Horse saw an upsurge of 232,021 followers on Instagram on the day the news of the deal broke. For context, Ferrari, on average, gains 220,916 followers in a month. The financial impact of the deal was far bigger.
Ferrari has recovered the money and earned more on the Lewis Hamilton deal
While neither party has confirmed the terms of the agreement, rumors suggest Lewis Hamilton will earn a whopping $100 million a year. A part of that will go towards the Briton’s charitable projects like Mission 44.
Apart from that, Ferrari chairman John Elkann has reportedly promised to set up a trust fund worth around $250 million for Hamilton’s projects. The complete deal, worth $450 million has, however, already been covered owing to the 10% surge in Ferrari’s stocks. The $10 billion hike has certainly made the deal sweeter for the Italian giants.
Carlos Sainz, the driver Hamilton will replace in 2025, is fully committed to giving his hundred percent in the upcoming season, though. Reacting to the announcement of Hamilton’s signing via social media, the Spaniard wrote,
“Following today’s news, Scuderia Ferrari and myself will part ways at the end of 2024. We still have a long season ahead of us and, like always, I will give my absolute best for the team and for the tifosi all around the world.”
Hamilton’s future teammate, Charles Leclerc, on the other hand, hasn’t issued a response yet. The Monegasque, however, is reported to be ‘shocked and disappointed’.
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“Shocked” seems to be the sentiment at Mercedes as well. Team boss Toto Wolff revealed that he learned about the deal just one day before its announcement.
The move has set off the silly season already. Mercedes is in search of Hamilton’s replacement, while Carlos Sainz is looking for a seat in 2025. However, there are a number of drivers who run out of their contracts at the end of the 2024 season. Therefore, no possibility can be ruled out.