Belfast Telegraph

Hamilton has had Ferrari talks: chief

 

Wanted man: Lewis Hamilton will have options to consider
Wanted man: Lewis Hamilton will have options to consider

By Philip Duncan

Ferrari have admitted for the first time that Lewis Hamilton has discussed joining them.

Ferrari's no-nonsense chief executive Louis Camilleri also scuppered any ambition rival boss Toto Wolff has of leaving Mercedes to run Formula One by stating that the Scuderia would block such a move.

Hamilton's £40m-a-year deal with Mercedes expires at the end of next year. Although Britain's six-time world champion refused to deny at the final race in Abu Dhabi that he has met with Ferrari chairman John Elkann, Camilleri confirmed preliminary discussions have taken place.

"It has been made public that Lewis has had conversations with our chairman," said Camilleri.

"We clearly are very flattered that Lewis in particular, and other drivers, want to come and join us. We have a long-term agreement with one driver (Charles Leclerc) and with the other driver (Sebastian Vettel) the agreement expires at the end of 2020.

"It would be premature to decide anything now for the future. We will look at our options and see what is the best fit."

Hamilton has indicated that his next move will depend on the future of Mercedes team principal Wolff, who has been touted by the sport's American owners' Liberty Media as a prime candidate to take over from Chase Carey and run F1 beyond next year.

But Camilleri says Ferrari would use its veto to stop Wolff.

"Anybody who has been an active and important player in a certain team within the last years to take on the responsibility at F1 would create a conflict of interest," added the American.

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