Ferrari have confirmed they have held talks with Lewis Hamilton over joining them when his Mercedes contract expires at the end of next year.
Hamilton is nearing the end of his £40million-a-year deal and his future has been one of F1’s key talking points over the past few weeks.
The Brit, who won a sixth Formula One Championship last month, has been linked to Ferrari in recent months, with Scuderia team principle Mattia Binotto dubbing him ‘an outstanding driver’.
And Ferrari’s chief executive, Louis Camilleri, said at the Italian team’s end of year debrief: “It has been made public that Lewis has had conversations with our chairman [John Elkann].
“We clearly are very flattered that Lewis in particular, and other drivers, want to come and join us. Every driver on the grid would like to drive a Ferrari.
“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 for our team.”
Ferrari’s campaign was blighted by a series of errors by their drivers and strategical mistakes.
Leclerc’s breakthrough season has also forced Ferrari to drop Vettel as their number one.
The four-time world champion, who is paid £36million-a-year, would likely be moved on if the Italians signed Hamilton.
“Clearly Charles’ performance has had an impact.” added Camilleri. “That’s inevitable when you’re the world champion and this young kid comes along and has a phenomenal season.
“Charles has a lot of talent. He has surprised even ourselves as to what he has been capable of.
“Their collision last month in Brazil was a nightmare. However, the air has been cleared. And sometimes you need a crisis to put the goalposts in the appropriate place.
“Going forwards it gives Mattia a much better way of managing them because they realised how much they screwed up.”
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Leclerc has previously admitted he would be keen to work alongside Hamilton at Ferrari next year.
He said: “Of course I would welcome Lewis. We are in Formula One and we want to fight against the best.
“I have had a big opportunity to have had Seb next to me, who is a four-time world champion, and I have learned a lot from him, so you can always learn from these types of champions.”
Source: TalkSport.com Motorsport