Ferrari is reportedly preparing to offer seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton $50 million to leave Mercedes for the Scuderia at the end of the season.
Hamilton has repeatedly said he plans to re-sign with Mercedes once his contract expires at the end of the year. However, the Daily Mail reported on Monday that Ferrari president John Elkann has been “in close contact with Hamilton.”
Hamilton currently shares the all-time record of seven championships with legendary Ferrari driver Michael Schumacher. He narrowly missed out on No. 8 in the final race of 2021.
He was eclipsed by Max Verstappen, who is now charging toward his third consecutive world championship as Red Bull has emerged as the dominant force in Formula 1 the past two years.
Meanwhile, Mercedes has struggled to keep pace. That has led to speculation that the Brit may be more open to a move to Ferrari, where current drivers Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz are under contract through 2024.
In a scenario where Hamilton makes a move to Ferrari, it raises the question about the Scuderia’s current driver lineup. The team has reportedly begun contract negotiations with Leclerc, but the possibility of a swap with Leclerc going to Mercedes and Hamilton teaming with Sainz at Ferrari has emerged in rumor circles.
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff was recently asked about Leclerc but insisted that his focus remains on re-signing Hamilton.
“Nobody doubts Charles’ ability and he is a good guy,” Wolff said at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix last month. He is 100 percent committed to Ferrari and we are 100 percent committed to putting pen to paper with Lewis,”
For his part, Hamilton has also remained consistent in his stance that he intends to remain with Mercedes.
“I’d be lying if I said I’d never thought about ending my career anywhere else,” Hamilton said at the Miami Grand Prix earlier this month.
“I started at McLaren, I’d like to think I’ll always be a part of the McLaren family, I started there when I was 13 years old, so I thought about what it would look like if I was at McLaren one day. I thought about and watched the Ferrari drivers on the screens at the track and of course you wonder what it would be like to be in red. But then I go to my team, to Mercedes, and this is my home. I’m happy where I am. I haven’t signed a contract yet, but we are working on one,”