Photographs of Lewis Hamilton’s manager having a secret conversation with Ferrari’s Team Principal took centre stage on Friday. The pictures sparked ill-conceived rumours that Hamilton could be Ferrari-bound at some point in the future, which, if true, would see the Briton follow in the ambitions of his childhood idol Ayrton Senna, who vowed to race for the Italian team before the end of his career.
The pictures, published by the Times, reveal Anthony Hamilton having a secret meeting with Ferrari Team Principal Stefano Domenicali after a Mercedes-Benz party. The snaps provoked a flood of rumours that Hamilton might make the switch to Ferrari in the future, admidst speculation that a rift has emerged between McLaren and their protÃ©gÃ©’s management.
It’s all ridiculous of course, especially given the Briton’s long-standing affiliation with the team. Hamilton himself has made it clear that he has no intention of leaving McLaren any time soon.
“I’d love to make McLaren the best ever. It’s my ambition to take McLaren beyond what Ferrari have achieved. Sometimes when you’re part of a team you don’t feel you owe them anything. But I feel very close to this team, it’s my family. I’ve been with them 13 years and the relationship has grown over a long period. We have the fight, we have the sponsors, the right funds, the right drive and the right people.
“We’re competing against a team that has done it many times and is strong and it’s not going to be easy. There were eras when Ferrari won everything and that was just boring. The times are changing, it’s more exciting, there are new regulations and the teams are all improving so it might take time – but I’m young and time is on my side.”
Hamilton’s childhood hero Ayrton Senna, who raced for McLaren between 1998-93, planned his career meticulously and intended to spend his final seasons with Ferrari, who he ominously predicted would come to the fore again in 1996 to coincide with the end of his contract with Williams. It was a move that never was following his tragic death at Imola in 1994.
Lewis has made clear his intentions to emulate the triple world champion, but the British youngster has signalled that this is not a goal he shares with his hero at the moment.