Former Renault chief Flavio Briatore expressed his astonishment at Lewis Hamilton’s decision to join Ferrari, stating, “I’m very surprised,” but acknowledged that Hamilton must have his motivations. “The only thing I can say is that I wish Ferrari and Lewis the best. But I am surprised because Mercedes has contributed significantly to his career,” Briatore told Lapresse.
On whether he supports Hamilton’s decision, Briatore was uncertain, highlighting the importance of a competitive car. “First of all, he needs a good car, because you can have Batman at the wheel but if it’s not competitive the driver will not make the difference.”
Echoing this sentiment, Jarno Trulli, another Italian and ex-F1 driver, mentioned to La Repubblica that even a seven-time world champion “does not give you a guarantee of winning.”
Jarno Trulli believes the move might be more beneficial for Hamilton than for Ferrari. “For me, honestly, it looks better for Hamilton than for Ferrari. He will remain in the history of Mercedes, whilst realizing a dream at the age of 40. He will drive a Ferrari knowing that everything he had to win in his career is won already. Maranello, however, has other dreams – to win new titles.”
This transition is compared to Michael Schumacher’s move in 1995. Ralf Schumacher, Michael’s brother, noted, “I think it could be the right move for Lewis. There are many drivers who would like to drive a Ferrari before finishing their career, and he is one of them,” adding the influence of Vasseur in Lewis’ decision. “I think Vasseur was a key factor in Lewis’ decision. He has already done an excellent job changing the team and now can take that work to another level.”
Robert Doornbos, a former Red Bull driver, highlighted the potential for Ferrari with the upcoming 2026 regulations. “Ferrari could easily take the advantage with the new regulations in 2026. It’s a gamble, yes, but every driver – world champion or not – dreams of putting on that iconic red suit and trying to take victory in a red car.”
The narrative of attempting to break Ferrari’s championship drought since Kimi Raikkonen’s last win is notable. “Don’t forget that Ferrari have not been champions since Kimi Raikkonen. Big names like Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel tried but they failed. Can Lewis break the pattern?” Doornbos pondered.
Christijan Albers, another former F1 driver, sees no fault in Hamilton’s decision, pointing out, “It’s the right time for him to do something different. Mercedes’ dominance in the hybrid period is over. They are stagnating. So as a driver, it’s good to look ahead.”
Albers dismissed concerns about the compatibility of Hamilton’s and Charles Leclerc’s driving styles, emphasizing the boost in morale Hamilton’s arrival would bring to Ferrari.
As for Carlos Sainz’s future, Trulli believes he will adapt and find a new opportunity, possibly with Audi, while Albers speculated on Sainz’s fit with Mercedes, contrasting him with Alexander Albon, whom he considers somewhat overrated.