Lewis Hamilton is a man in demand after claiming his second world championship in 2014 and Ferrari have revealed they have made efforts to tempt the Briton away from Mercedes.
According to the Mirror, former team boss Marco Mattiacci approached the two-time champion even before he claimed his second title last November in Abu Dhabi and the man who replaced him, Maurizio Arrivabene has also admitted he would be interested in signing the 30-year-old.
The revelation comes as Hamilton is in ongoing negotiations over a new deal with Mercedes, as his initial contract expires at the end of this year, but it seems the potential interest from those at Maranello could be playing a role in the Briton's talks with the Brackley-based team.
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Sticking to his word, Hamilton has not begun any kind of talks with Ferrari and the new deal with Mercedes, said to be worth around £20m per year over two seasons with an option then for a third, is said to be in the final stages with Hamilton representing himself after he parted ways with former management partners XIX Entertainment.
Ferrari interest comes amid potential turnaround
The reports come as Ferrari appear to have turned a corner following several years of disappointment, new faces in the management and engineering hierarchy plus the arrival of Sebastian Vettel from Red Bull has brought a renewed optimism to the Italian team and pre-season testing has indicated that the new SF15-T has put the Scuderia back in the hunt for best-of-the-rest behind the dominant Mercedes heading into the new season.
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Indeed any potential deal with Hamilton would likely see Kimi Raikkonen retire from F1 for a second time after his two-season hiatus in 2010 and 2011.
The Finn struggled to match now McLaren driver Fernando Alonso in a car that just didn't suit the 'Iceman's' driving style though signs are he is getting on much better with the 2015 Ferrari - fully designed by former Lotus colleague James Allison.
Likely Vettel resistance
While the chances of Lewis Hamilton making a move from Mercedes to Ferrari are slim, given Mercedes continued dominance, there are other hurdles that would stand in the way of a Hamilton/ Ferrari pairing.
There would likely be strong opposition from Sebastian Vettel who has just gone to Ferrari to become their next star driver and perhaps etch his name into the history books at Maranello, and while a pairing with Kimi Raikkonen might go against that theory, the friendship the pair have make it much more palatable than one with Hamilton.
Could Ferrari & Hamilton co-exist?
Then there is the likely clash of interests between the Ferrari brand and the Lewis Hamilton brand, it would sound like a match made in heaven for Formula 1 with its most recognisable driver in the most iconic team but, would the pair's own interests make a deal viable?
Add to that the culture at Maranello, it has likely changed a lot from the scene in the film 'Rush' where a mechanic was horrified when Niki Lauda dared to call a Ferrari a "s**tbox" but given there is a sense that when at Ferrari, no-one is bigger than Ferrari, would having someone who has his own identity work?
I'm not saying Hamilton isn't a team player but would he have the sort of work ethic and devotion to Ferrari as Alonso did or Vettel will and then I dare ask could you imagine Roscoe - his pet bulldog - strolling around the Ferrari hospitality in the paddock?
It is likely all hypothetical with a deal with Mercedes almost certainly set to be signed, but given there could be a lot more high profile driver switches in the coming years as the old guard move on, plenty of intriguing scenarios could play out.
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