The 2007 season is not even 5 races old and the F1 paddock is back at doing what it does best i.e. SPECULATING.
If they are to be believed the British rookie sensation Lewis Hamilton is already being linked with a shock switch to Ferrari, replacing Kimi Raikkonen. Its also being suggested that his route to Ferrari is already being ‘lawyered‘. Hamilton has a long term long term contract with McLaren, which reportedly extends till 2011.
Hamilton has even been mentioned as the instigator of the FIA investigation into McLaren Team Order Row, charges of which they were cleared off, after suggesting to reporters last Sunday that he had been ordered to finish second to Fernando Alonso because he is ‘the number two driver‘ at McLaren. Its also being claimed that Hamilton was unashamedly ‘angry’ in Monaco when it became clear that he was being asked to sacrifice his lead of the drivers’ championship and settle for second
Hamilton’s annual salary could potentially rise from about $500,000 in 2007 to up to $40m ‘or more’ with Ferrari.
But I do doubt that it is anything more than just a ‘rumour’. The reasoning is that Ron Dennis has groomed Lewis Hamilton through racing’s junior classes at huge expense. Plus the long term contract mentioned above. You just don’t ditch your Godfather after one fight. Plus if it were about the money I am pretty sure McLaren would pay him what he asked for after he has shown that he is THE next big guy, and McLaren won’t risk losing him.
The other significant factor to be considered here is Who do Ferrari replace if Lewis moves to the Ferrari camp. Kimi has a 3 year contract and Filipe Massa’s contract end only in 2008. So whom do they show the door. Showing Kimi the door after a few dismal performances and mostly because of sheer bad luck and the so called Schumi Syndrome. Kimi appears ‘paralysed’ every time the retired multiple world champion and team ‘advisor’ Michael Schumacher strolls into the garage wearing a red uniform, maybe its just the anxiety/enthusiasm to live-up to the icon he’s replacing. Which I guess is no more than some pep talk and an awesome race away. So that leaves us with Filipe, and I doubt Ferrari will want to be without him after the performance he’s shown this season, along with all the grooming from Schumi last year and at Sauber before that. He belongs to the potential group of new F1 drivers and you jut don’t let them go.
So at the end of the day, I am pretty sure its just a rumour and nothing more.