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Will Hamilton ditch Mercedes for Ferrari?

Reports have surfaced again linking Hamilton to Ferrari, but could the shock switch happen?

New reports have emerged linking Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari with the Scuderia supposedly preparing to table a £40million offer for the seven-time F1 World Champion. The Italian outfit's synonymity with F1 has led a number of legends to seek a race seat with the team across the sport's history, especially with the opportunity to rebuild towards championship success as Sebastian Vettel and Michael Schumacher have attempted - the latter successfully - in the past three decades. So will Hamilton follow suit?

Future up in air again

Hamilton's future in F1 has come into question a number of times since the end of the 2021 season. The manner of his defeat to Max Verstappen in the race for the title that year led to suspicions the Briton would walk away from the sport immediately. Whilst Hamilton did return, Mercedes has failed thus far to present him with a competitive car within F1's newest technical regulations and he has been left as a guinea pig for set-up experimentation alongside George Russell on a number of occasions whilst the Brackley-based outfit attempts to escape from its mire. Yet with a new contract on the table, both Hamilton and Team Principal Toto Wolff pointed towards what would be a simple negotiation, yet nothing has been signed to date. This has allowed the rumour mill to begin again surrounding a switch to Ferrari. The parties were linked in 2019 with Hamilton touted to partner Charles Leclerc in 2021, though former Ferrari CEO Louis Camilleri played down talks between the 103-time race winner and Chairman John Elkann as being 'blown out of proportion'. If Hamilton was to leave for Ferrari, it would then cast doubt over both Leclerc and Carlos Sainz's positions. It is likely Sainz would be positioned elsewhere on the grid or Leclerc used as part of a swap deal with Mercedes.

Hamilton's family at Mercedes

Hamilton has made no secret of remaining with Mercedes in the public eye. Last year, he suggested he was seeking a new deal with the team and revealed he felt comfortable racing on into his 40s. This year, he has insisted he has no plans to move on from the German manufacturer, comments that align with previous desires to stay with the team for life - following the example of Sir Stirling Moss who remained a Mercedes-affiliated driver even after retirement. Nothing lasts forever, especially in F1. Hamilton's decision-making process will likely depend on how much promise is brought by a major upgrade package being added by Mercedes at the Monaco Grand Prix. But it cannot be forgotten that Mercedes has supported Hamilton away from the track as well as on it. The team's push for inclusivity and diversity - taking a stand with its driver - is reflected in its Ignite and Accelerate 25 initiatives as well as the fact the Silver Arrows currently race in a predominantly black livery. The weight that camaraderie, support and family feeling will give to Hamilton may be enough to warn off any hints of a departure. But Ferrari is on a different planet in terms of allure with its own gravitational pull. That may be too much to turn down if on-track fortunes don't change.

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