Lewis Hamilton revealed Ferrari have never offered him a contract, but added he has had casual conversations with the most famous team in Formula 1, after it was reported they’d tempted him with a huge deal earlier in 2023.
The F1 rumour mill looked set to explode in May when the Daily Mail reported Ferrari were set to offer Hamilton £40-million to move to Maranello after 2023, when his Mercedes deal was set to expire.
“Never. Okay, we’ve certainly had a few casual conversations,” Hamilton told Swiss newspaper Blick when asked whether Ferrari have ever offered him a contract. “I know a lot of good people there. But I never felt ready to move to Italy.”
Mercedes had been hinting for months that Hamilton‘s contract was effectively done, including Toto Wolff announcing the deal was ’emotionally done’ in July.
However, that was a drop in the ocean compared to 2021, where Mercedes only announced Hamilton‘s extension for the year weeks before pre-season testing was set to begin.
“This is not the first time that the two of us discussed and haggled over details for hours”, Hamilton added. “Always under the motto: From Thursday to Sunday, I belong exclusively to F1.
“There are so many details about my promotional activities. I am in a fortunate position with Toto, he is respected and admired by everyone and it’s easy to negotiate with him. That makes him a great leader.”
Hamilton: When I’m gone, I’m gone
Hamilton added that when he does quit F1, he will be gone for good. Fernando Alonso and Nico Hulkenberg are both drivers on the current grid who’ve taken breaks from the sport, Hamilton‘s had nearly as many F1 podiums as grand prix entries for the German.
However, Hamilton has only missed one race since making his debut at the 2007 Australian GP – when COVID-19 forced him out of the 2020 Sakhir GP.
“That will not happen to me,” Hamilton said. “When it’s over, that’s when it ends. I can’t imagine standing in the paddock or in the garage – without then getting into a car. But as I’ve said before: never say never.”