Convincing Hamilton To Join Ferrari 'Wasn't Difficult At All' Says Vasseur

Thursday, 16 May 2024 at 14:00
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Ferrari F1 team principal discussed how he persuaded the seven-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton to join his team.
Lewis Hamilton has been with Mercedes since 2013. During his 12 years with them, he achieved most of his biggest accomplishments (6/7 titles, 82/103 wins, and many incredible records).
It was considered that Hamilton would most likely stay with the German team until he retires. But at the beginning of 2024, he changed his mind and decided to join Ferrari (from the 2025 season onwards).
It was said that Fred Vasseur played an essential role in convincing the 39-year-old driver to join the team from Maranello. Why?
Vasseur and Hamilton know each other very well from their time together in GP2 (known as F2 nowadays). Together, they won the Championship for ART Grand Prix and have retained a great relationship since then.
Ferrari tried to convince Hamilton to leave Mercedes multiple times in the past, but it was unsuccessful. So, how did their current team principal manage to do it? He told La Repubblica that it wasn't actually "difficult at all":

"Honestly, it [wasn't] difficult at all. I think he had it in mind for ages [to switch to Ferrari]."

When the official announcement was made, Mercedes was still thought to be in a better place (development-wise) than Scuderia, so claims that Hamilton left his team due to bad performance didn't seem right.
The seven-time World Champion himself confirmed Vasseur's words as he said it was his childhood dream to drive for Ferrari, and it seems the offer just came at the right time from the right person. The team principal added:

"This year, for various reasons, including the fact that he had the option to leave Mercedes, that we had a seat available, and a good relationship between us, it was the right time for everyone. I believe it's a good opportunity for him and for us."