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HomeFerrariLeone Lewis? Glory not assured as Hamilton seeks Ferrari revival | Ferrari

Leone Lewis? Glory not assured as Hamilton seeks Ferrari revival | Ferrari


Enzo Ferrari favored his English drivers. In 1958 the bow-tied Mike Hawthorn grew to become the workforce’s third world champion. John Surtees received the title in 1964, ending a interval of inner turmoil. When Ferrari died in 1988, aged 90, he had simply signed up Nigel Mansell for the next season. He favored Mansell’s aggression, his aggressive spirit. He would absolutely have appreciated Lewis Hamilton, too.

As Hamilton identified whereas the bottom was nonetheless shaking from Thursday’s sudden announcement that he’ll be a part of the Scuderia Ferrari in 2025, he already is aware of about driving vehicles from Maranello. He has two of them in his storage in California. Subsequent 12 months he’ll take the connection a step additional, into the realm of each younger racing driver’s desires.

The omens are blended. The seven-time world champion is becoming a member of a workforce that may boast a document 243 wins from 1,076 grands prix. On condition that his private tally is 103 wins from 332 begins, additionally a document, Hamilton is unlikely to be overawed by the statistics.

However Ferrari’s lengthy historical past is studded with intervals of extended and operatic anguish wherein a win couldn’t be purchased for love or cash, such because the dry spells they endured within the late 60s and early 70s and all through the 80s and 90s. They’re enduring one other such drought now, with no drivers’ champion since 2007 and no constructors’ title since 2008.

Hamilton is at the moment in a low second of his personal. After a minimum of one race win yearly between 2007, his debut season, and 2021, he has now gone two years and not using a victory, a bitter sequel to having the possibility of an eighth title unjustly dashed because the 2021 season got here to a climax in Abu Dhabi.

At 39, and with maybe solely two or three years left on the very prime, he appears to have reached the conclusion that the vehicles supplied by his current workforce are unlikely to match the at the moment untouchable efficiency of Max Verstappen’s Purple Bull earlier than a brand new set of technical laws comes into drive in 2026.

Lewis Hamilton has received six drivers’ championships at Mercedes however has now gone two seasons and not using a race victory. {Photograph}: EPA

He’ll miss the shut relationships developed through the years at Mercedes. Toto Wolff, the workforce principal, is the person who agreed to have the vehicles traditionally generally known as Silver Arrows painted black in salute to the Black Lives Matter motion – a call hardly possible at Ferrari, the place crimson is sacred, though the exact shade was as soon as altered to match that of their sponsor, Marlboro cigarettes. He’ll miss Mercedes’ technical director, James Allison, and his race engineer, Pete Bonnington.

However the presence of Fred Vasseur, who arrived at Ferrari as workforce principal a 12 months in the past, could have swung his choice. They received the Method 3 and GP2 titles along with groups run by Vasseur whereas Hamilton was a member of McLaren’s driver growth programme. Now Vasseur can be hoping to emulate the influence of Jean Todt, the one different Frenchman to run the workforce, who arrived in 1995, attracted Michael Schumacher to Maranello, and supervised a run of titles that put the Scuderia again the place they’re all the time satisfied they belong.

Hamilton proved the sceptics unsuitable when he moved from a dominant McLaren workforce to the underperforming Mercedes outfit in 2013. Presumably Vasseur has satisfied him that Ferrari now have the technical firepower to match Purple Bull, and that there can be no repeat of the strategic errors that usually blighted the promise of current seasons.

Jean Todt embraces Michael Schumacher, the pair who revived Ferrari’s fortunes on the flip of the century. {Photograph}: Paul-Henri Cahier/Getty Photos

He can be racing alongside the gifted Charles Leclerc, 13 years his junior, within the data that whereas Enzo Ferrari all the time inspired inner competitors, the workforce labored most successfully within the intervals when first Niki Lauda after which Schumacher had a transparent No 1 standing. Hamilton should combat for that precedence in opposition to a teammate who’s each embedded and cherished in Maranello.

However even in instances of trial the crimson vehicles stay distinctive, the one workforce to have taken half in each world championship because the inaugural collection in 1950. They have been a brand new workforce then, however inside a 12 months that they had their first grand prix victory and have been quickly celebrating the triumphs of Alberto Ascari, the primary of their 9 drivers to win the world title.

These 9 champions represented eight completely different nationalities: an Italian, an Argentinian, an American, an Austrian, a South African, a German, a Finn and the 2 Englishmen. Hawthorn grew to become Britain’s first world champion on the wheel of a Ferrari named after Dino, Enzo’s beloved first son, who had died two years earlier of muscular dystrophy, aged 24. Peter Collins, Hawthorn’s pal and teammate, had befriended Dino throughout his sickness. The crimson vehicles of the English pair have been neck and neck within the championship when Collins was killed on the Nürburgring.

Argentina’s Juan Manuel Fangio driving the Ferrari Lancia D50 in 1956. {Photograph}: Günther Molter/The Klemantaski Assortment/Getty Photos

A 12 months after Hawthorn’s title one other Englishman, Tony Brooks, got here inside touching distance of the championship for Ferrari. In 1962 Stirling Moss, the best English racer of his technology, was on the verge of racing a Ferrari in F1 when a crash ended his profession. Two years later Surtees restored the workforce’s lustre, however different Englishmen – Cliff Allison, Mike Parkes, Jonathan Williams and Derek Bell – made much less impression once they raced briefly for the workforce within the 60s.

The corporate was nonetheless mourning Enzo’s dying when Mansell raised hopes by profitable the primary race of the 1989 season. He left after two years, a sufferer of inner politics however with a nickname – Il Leone – reflecting the qualities that had received him a spot within the hearts of the Italian followers.

Hamilton will need to go away with greater than a nickname. Of the 5 drivers who, like him, have been already world champions once they joined Ferrari, two – Juan Manuel Fangio and Schumacher – went on to win additional titles with the workforce. The three others – Alain Prost, Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel – had their hopes of additional glory very publicly and generally humiliatingly dashed. As Hamilton will uncover, a Ferrari driver exists in a world the place there aren’t any half measures.

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