Coulthard & Chandhok cast doubt on Hamilton/Ferrari move

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The prospect of Lewis Hamilton joining Ferrari in 2021 has been played down by two ex-Formula 1 drivers turned pundits.

Rumours and later confirmation of contact between the six-time world champion and company chairman John Elkann created a huge buzz that maybe the blockbuster switch might happen.

All sides though have tried to calm the speculation and Karun Chandhok believes one person will likely be the ultimate reason why the move won't take place.

“I don’t think that he’ll go to Ferrari now that [Charles] Leclerc is signed to 2024,” said Chandhok at the Autosport International show this past weekend.

“I don’t think that Ferrari will pitch Lewis against Leclerc. I can’t see it happening.

“Look, Formula 1 is a funny business and stranger things have happened, but by making that announcement, they’ve committed to Leclerc as being their future. Why would they want a controversial season with two number one drivers?

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“Now it’s just a question of Lewis staying at Mercedes," the Indian added. 

"He’s had a lot of success at Mercedes, he’s very happy at Mercedes and, as much as for all of us watching, it would be a box office hit to see Leclerc and Lewis in the same team – I’d also like to see Max [Verstappen] and Lewis in the same team – we can’t all get what we want.”

13-time Grand Prix winner David Coulthard offered another perspective on why Hamilton should avoid Ferrari, how it would impact his lifestyle.

“I’m sure he is talking to Ferrari… but he’s only ever been with Mercedes. Why go and break that?" the Scot questioned.

“Some people want that European twist to their life, but I think Lewis is quite happy in English-speaking territory. Britain and America. America for his playtime, Britain for his racing.

“I don’t think he needs the huggy, cuddly, emotional ride that would come with Ferrari, and I don’t believe that Ferrari badge is etched on the inside of his mind since he was a wee kid. So why do it? Money? He’s got plenty of that.

“I have a much stronger feeling that he’s in it for another few years. So it does set us up for what could be an absolutely golden era of Formula 1.”

Of course, the man often forgotten amid all this is Sebastian Vettel, who Hamilton would replace at the Scuderia.

The four-time world champion will have to decide for himself if he wants to continue at Ferrari but Coulthard believes the role he might end up playing could impact the former Red Bull driver.

“I think Seb has got a shorter duration to his career now than before. A lot depends on this year,” he said.

“If Charles continues to be up front, then it just doesn’t really make financial sense for Ferrari to apportion that amount of money to someone that could end up becoming a clear number two.

“Right now he (Vettel) is number one equal, but he went in as number one plus at the beginning of last year and he’s on the cusp of maybe dropping, as we’ve seen with Kimi (Raikkonen).”