Will Lewis Hamilton join Ferrari? It sounds crazy, but Mercedes must be getting anxious
Lewis Hamilton has still not signed a new deal at Mercedes and now the rumours about a potential shock switch to Ferrari are growing fast.
As news agency AP reports: “the British driver competing internally for top-driver status against four-time champion Sebastian Vettel, could rival the days when Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost were fighting — and feuding — for the title”.
Indeed it could. F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone would certainly love to see the sport’s two fiercest competitors battle it out as team-mates for the team with the biggest historical profile.
But would Hamilton, who has won three of the four races this season and nine in 11, really leave Mercedes – the team with which he is currently enjoying so much success?
It seems ridiculous to think that he could be about to leave the team, but the longer the contact negotiations drag on, the more questions are inevitably being asked.
Nico Rosberg, his current team-mate at Mercedes, has only claimed one win in the past 15 races and hasn't beaten Hamilton — who has clinched four straight pole positions this year — so far in qualifying.
The 30-year-old Briton appears to hold all the power in his talks with Mercedes, coming off the back of a Championship-winning season and with the star qualities that every team in the sport covets.
What would become of Mercedes should Hamilton leave for the Italian giants? It would be intriguing to see.
Ferrari would boast the strongest line-up F1 has seen for many years with the two drivers boasting a staggering six titles between them — four for Vettel, two for Hamilton.
No matter what any other team says, Ferrari does hold a special place in many drivers’ hearts, which is a big part of why the Hamilton rumours are beginning to mount.
Hamilton himself said back in 2013: "So anyone who gets that chance, no matter where you are or what car you drive, you look at a Ferrari and think, 'that's pretty cool'."
The Brit would have the chance of becoming the only driver with the exception of the legendary five-time champion Juan Manuel Fangio to win a world title with three different teams, which could represent a very attractive challenge.
Rosberg is already 27 points behind Hamilton this season after just four races and Vettel is the only driver to have seriously challenged the reigning world champion.
Vettel may not yet be representing a serious threat for the World Championship in his Ferrari, but many see this as just a matter of time.
Does Hamilton want to commit his long-term future to Mercedes and hope that their dominance can continue or will he find the prospect of challenging Vettel as a team-mate too tempting a proposition?
AP reports that “Ferrari is keeping a keen eye on Hamilton's situation with good reason” and that good reason could well be that the longer his talks with Mercedes go on, the more he may fall in love with a very different vision of his racing future.
Hamilton, as is now well known, represents himself since splitting with his advisers after last season. He claimed in March that the new deal was "honestly, 99.6 per cent done", but since then there appears to have been little or no progress.
As is often the case with high-profile contract negotiations, Hamilton could be basking in the latest Ferrari rumours and using it as a bargaining tool to improve his deal at Mercedes, but the team could be forgiven for getting a touch agitated.
For all Mercedes’ current success, the team must be beginning to serious worry about what the future may hold with Hamilton’s future seemingly still very much up in the air.