Former Lewis Hamilton Mercedes ally James Vowles is sure that the shock move to Ferrari of the seven-time champion will allow him to "question himself."
Hamilton stunned the F1 world last Thursday when it was confirmed that 2024 will be his final season with Mercedes, ending a 12-year stint with the team that has yielded six titles and 82 wins to date.
A multi-year deal at Ferrari was too tempting to turn down for Hamilton who will replace Carlos Sainz, who is currently without a seat for 2025.
Vowles knows Hamilton well from his time working with the 39-year-old at Mercedes, as the Brackley-based outfit's Motorsport Strategy Director.
The duo worked together from 2013 – when Hamilton made the massive move from McLaren to Mercedes – up until the end of the 2022 campaign. This is when Vowles departed to replace Jost Capito as the Team Principal of Williams.
As a result, Vowles understands Hamilton and feels that driving for Ferrari has been something that has always interested Hamilton.
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"The timing came as a surprise to me," Vowles admitted to select media including RacingNews365, when asked to comment on Hamilton's move to Ferrari.
"He's wanting desire to be in a Ferrari at some point in his career now.
"I think most world champions have either been there or have a desire to be there because it's a force of nature. It is still the most successful team in Formula 1 – Williams is the second most successful team.
"But it is and that can't be ignored."
With him reaching the final years of his career in F1, it's now or never for Hamilton in terms of racing for Ferrari.
"It gives him an opportunity to really question [himself]," said Vowles. "It's the hardest thing you do for all of you as well for every human in the world, to move from where you're comfortable to where you're not.
"[It] challenges you and pushes you to the limits, and that's Lewis all over. And so the fact he's doing it, I actually think it's good for the sport. It'll be good for Lewis because he'll learn from it and will challenge himself."
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