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Ferrari’s Vasseur excited by Hamilton transfer however has ‘tough’ name with Wolff | Lewis Hamilton


Fred Vasseur has described the signing of Lewis Hamilton as an enormous alternative for Ferrari however the workforce principal admitted he had a really tough dialog along with his Mercedes counterpart, Toto Wolff, after poaching his driver.

Two weeks in the past the seven-time world champion shocked Mercedes, with whom he has pushed since 2013 and gained six titles, by saying he can be becoming a member of Ferrari in 2025. Wolff admitted he was caught abruptly given Hamilton had signed a brand new contract with Mercedes in August and the pair had been speaking about their future at Mercedes as just lately as Christmas.

On the launch of Ferrari’s new 2024 automotive the SF-24 Vasseur was talking publicly for the primary time because the deal was executed, standing in entrance of Enzo Ferrari’s desk within the Ferrari founder’s workplace in Maranello.

Persuading Hamilton to hitch Ferrari meant the workforce have dropped their present driver Carlos Sainz for 2025 however Vasseur confessed that telling Sainz he was being jettisoned was not the toughest dialog he had over the deal.

“It was not the simplest name of my life,” he stated of telling Sainz. “However the one which was most tough was the one with Toto.”

Vasseur has lengthy loved a detailed relationship with Hamilton. He was his workforce principal at ART Grand Prix in 2005 when the British driver gained the F3 title at his first try after which the next 12 months was additionally in cost at ART when Hamilton took the GP2 championship. The pair have maintained their friendship ever since and Vasseur indicated this had performed its half in bringing Hamilton to Ferrari.

Fred Vasseur, pictured with drivers Charles Leclerc (left) and Carlos Sainz Jr (proper) alongside the Ferrari SF-24 automotive, has lengthy held a detailed relationship with Hamilton. {Photograph}: Scuderia Ferrari

“We’ve got had relationship now for greater than 20 years,” he stated. “We have been at all times in touch to discuss various things and it [the deal] got here naturally. I don’t know what was straightforward or what was not nevertheless it got here like this, step-by-step.”

Vasseur was eager to give attention to the 2024 season however he did concede that Hamilton’s arrival in 2025 was going to be an vital second for Ferrari, who haven’t gained a drivers’ title since Kimi Räikkönen took the championship in 2007. They haven’t gained a constructors’ title since 2008, equalling the longest drought within the Scuderia’s historical past.

“Concerning Lewis, it’s an enormous alternative for the workforce,” he stated. “We’re certain that he’ll convey us a good step for the long run and will probably be problem for everyone.”

Hamilton will likely be becoming a member of Charles Leclerc at Ferrari subsequent 12 months and the Monegasque driver, who signed a brand new deal with Ferrari shortly earlier than the Hamilton announcement, stated he had identified the workforce have been trying to convey the British driver on board.

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“This type of deal just isn’t finalised in a single day. It takes time and I used to be conscious of these discussions earlier than I signed my deal so it didn’t come as a shock,” he stated. “I’ve had discussions with Lewis particularly when all the pieces was introduced and official. We texted one another.”

The pair get pleasure from relationship already and he additionally paid tribute to Hamilton, whom he was wanting ahead to working with in what guarantees to be among the best driver pairings on the grid.

“Clearly, Lewis is an unbelievable driver, probably the most profitable in historical past, with a whole lot of expertise which he brings to the workforce, which is an efficient factor,” he stated. “Lewis is a good champion with a lot success. It’s at all times fascinating to have a brand new teammate, since you be taught alternative ways of driving and dealing, and much more so when my new teammate is a seven-time world champion.”

This text was amended on 14 February 2024. An earlier model stated that Ferrari had not gained a drivers’ title since 2007 and this was the longest drought within the Scuderia’s historical past. In truth the reference to the drought was in relation to the constructors’ title.

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