Ferrari: Hamilton availability for 2021 ‘can only make us happy’

November 30, 2019 0 By JohnValbyNation

Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto says that Lewis Hamilton’s availability for 2021 can only make the Scuderia “happy”, suggesting the Italian outfit could make a bid for the Mercedes star.

Hamilton’s contract with Mercedes runs until the end of next season, at which point the six-time world champion is expected to either extend his allegiance to the German manufacturer or perhaps retire from F1.

Hamilton’s comments of late point to a prolongation of his stay with the Silver Arrows outfit beyond 2020 although the Briton admitted he wasn’t looking forward to the arduous task of negotiating a new deal with his current employer.

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Could Ferrari step in and drive a wedge through those negotiations?

“Lewis is certainly an outstanding driver, a fantastic driver,” Binotto told the media in Abu Dhabi when asked if Ferrari would be willing to make an offer to Hamilton.

“Knowing that he’s available in 2021 can make us only happy, but honestly it’s too early for any decision. We are happy with the drivers we’ve got at the moment.

“Certainly, at one stage next season we will start discussing and understanding what to do.”

Key to Hamilton’s future in F1 beyond 2021 is likely Mercedes itself and the manufacturer’s plans moving forward.

The current paradigm shift in the automotive industry, with manufacturers gradually abandoning the internal combustion engine and moving towards an all-electric era, has called into question the relevancy of F1 for manufacturers in the context of the sweeping changes.

However, Hamilton doesn’t believe Mercedes will pull out of Formula 1 at the end of 2020.

“The board members are here this weekend, so I’ll double check with them,” Hamilton said at Yas Marina.

“But they’re all hardcore races and [I’m] pretty sure that they want to stay. But things may have changed, as they can do so I’ll find out.”

Hamilton also recently underscored the importance of Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff remaining on board in the future, if the manufacturer does indeed remain in F1.

Wolff – who has been at the helm at Mercedes since 2013 – is rumored to have been earmarked by Liberty Media as a possible successor to Chase Carey as F1’s chief executive.

While Hamilton will want a head’s up from Wolff before deciding his future, the opposite is also true.

“We ended up in Mercedes at the same time in 2013 and I think we have built up a lot of trust,” said Wolff about his and Hamilton’s future.

“At the same time, the two of us are part of a wider organisation where everybody is playing in their relative field of competence.

“For him to say that is nice. I’d also like to know where he goes or if he stays in the future.

“We are having those discussions about the future and I think it is very important between the two of us, like between many others that have played an important role within that team.

“There are many things to be decided on and we will see over the winter.”

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