Ferrari’s Elkann was ‘driving force’ behind Hamilton switch

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Ferrari executive chairman John Elkann was reportedly the “driving force” behind the Italian outfit’s sensational coup to lure Lewis Hamilton to Maranello.

According to Sky Sports, many months of behind-the-scenes maneuvering and courting by Elkann culminated in Thursday’s bombshell announcement that Hamilton will don the iconic red in 2025.

Recognizing the immense opportunity to unite the sport's most decorated driver with Ferrari, the most successful team in F1, Elkann persisted and managed to crack the decade-long – and seemingly unshakable – foundation that united Hamilton and Mercedes.

The Stellantis and Ferrari chairman, supported by Scuderia boss Fred Vasseur, a long-standing Hamilton devotee since their days of working together in GP2 in 2006, will have succeeded in creating a dream team with Hamilton and Charles Leclerc that will carry Ferrari's hopes of ending its championship drought since 2008.

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“My understanding is that this courtship [between Ferrari and Hamilton] has been going on for some months,” commented Sky Sports’ Craig Slater.

“It’s not a sudden thing. John Elkann, the president and a very heavy-hitter, is very much at the centre of it and the driving force.

“Team principal Fred Vasseur is someone Lewis knows from the junior days so there’s no friction there.

“It’s not like the chairman has signed someone over the manager’s back, that you sometimes get in football! This isn’t like that.”

Slater reckons that Hamilton will have his work cut out at Ferrari to defie Leclerc, Maranello’s favourite son, especially at 40.

But the seven-time F1 world champion has never been one to shy away from a good challenge.

“This is typical of Lewis Hamilton, I have to say. Never been afraid of a challenge,” Slater added. “He comes into F1 with Fernando Alonso as his teammate and gets a result against him.

“He changes teams to an upstart team who hadn’t done very much, Mercedes, and goes up against Nico Rosberg, a fine operator, and gets the better of him.

“Happy to take on George Russell, one of the best of the young prospects in F1. And now this! Joining Ferrari where Leclerc is ensconced there.

“Clearly, Ferrari identified him as their priority, and that’s why they signed him up rather than Carlos Sainz.

“So Lewis? This is a big challenge for him. He will be 40, going up against one of the quickest young drivers in the world. It would be a great scalp for Leclerc to take, if he could out-score him over a year.”

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