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Lewis Hamilton

Hamilton to Ferrari move questioned by former F1 boss Ecclestone

It is a move that has captured the headlines since it was announced, but one now questioned from many angles by Bernie Ecclestone.

Hamilton Ecclestone
Interview
To news overview © XPBimages

Former F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has questioned Lewis Hamilton's move to Ferrari ahead of the seven-time champion's switch to the Scuderia next season.

Hamilton stunned the sport three months ago when it was announced he would be ending what will be a 12-season career with the German manufacturing giant with whom he has won six of his championships.

From his perspective, Ecclestone said that Hamilton's decision was a shock, with the British driver now set to race into his early 40s with Ferrari.

Simply asked initially in an exclusive interview with RacingNews365 what he thought of Hamilton's Ferrari move, Ecclestone at first queried his relationship with Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff.

"It was a strange, strange move to make," said Ecclestone. "Toto has relied on him an awful lot more, and they've become close for selfish reasons - both of them.

"I don't think there was ever a sort of a relationship where you could rely on both parties. There obviously wasn't because that's why he (Hamilton) suddenly decided to leave."

Hamilton 'an unnecessary handful'

As to whether Ecclestone was surprised when he heard the news, he said: "Big surprise, in as far as I didn't understand why he did it, given the year's notice basically. Why didn't he wait until later on during the season?

"People thought they'd done a clever deal in taking him, but I think it's a bit of an ego thing that he (Hamilton) got latched into it all."

Ecclestone added: "Fred (Vasseur, team principal) knew him from their early days, and I think John Elkann (chairman) at Ferrari, from his point of view, it was a bit of an ego thing that he's managed to capture one of the leading Formula 1 drivers - the best Formula 1 driver, in many people's opinion.

"These things happen. Just a whole set of circumstances that come together."

Ecclestone has claimed, however, he would not have signed the likes of a Hamilton during his days when he ran Brabham for 16 years during the 1970s and '80s.

As to why not, he said: "Too much of a handful - an unneccessary handful."

Explaining, he added: "He really sort of commands a little at Mercedes. Toto has let him be like that, to keep him on board and keep him happy.

"But I never had that with the drivers. They're still good, good friends of mine, genuine friends, not for finance or whatever. Good friends.

"I'd rather have that sort of relationship rather than the fact I jump when somebody says jump, or defend a situation. If I wanted to do something, I'd do it if I thought it was the right thing to do."

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