Prior to 2013, Lewis Hamilton had nearly committed to signing with Ferrari until Niki Lauda persuaded him to join Mercedes.

March 4, 2024

In 2025, Lewis Hamilton will realize a long-held aspiration of racing for Ferrari while donning their iconic red overalls. This unexpected career move marks the second major switch for the British Formula One driver.

Interestingly, former strategist at Mercedes and Ferrari,Ruth Buscombehas disclosed that this transition could have happened much earlier when he was still associated with McLaren team.

Whilst on gardening leave, Buscombe joined the hosts of Pitstop podcast for their latest YouTube episode.

In this discussion, he disclosed that he had almost signed with Ferrari before being persuaded to join Mercedes in 2013. As a seasoned F1 employee, his insight proved invaluable.

“It’s not widely known, but he almost joined Ferrari,” she revealed as she recounted an intriguing tale. Back when Hamilton was driving for McLaren, he garnered attention while visiting Modena and frequenting a renowned local pub situated in the vicinity of Ferrari’s headquarters.

Allegedly, during his four-hour stay there at that time, it became clear to one staff member that Hamilton had piqued their interest regarding potentially joining the team.

Before signing with Mercedes, there were speculations of him joining the Italian team.

His presence in Modena added fuel to the fire until Niki Lauda, a Ferrari legend who passed away later on, talked him into becoming part of the German squad.

Lauda’s persuasion to join Mercedes was no secret, even though the team had been struggling in Brackley. Hamilton took a leap of faith, but it was Niki Lauda who answered his honest question that convinced him.

Niki Lauda’s response which persuaded Lewis Hamilton to sign with Mercedes.

At the time when Hamilton’s McLaren agreement was due to end and he needed to make a decision, Niki Lauda gave him a call.

This came as quite a surprise since Hamilton believed that Lauda held animosity towards him for certain remarks made in the past; potentially stemming from similarities between his initial career trajectory and James Hunt’s.

However, during their conversation, Lauda invited Hamilton to join Mercedes – an organization which he had personal investment in.

During 2012, Mercedes occupied the fifth ranking position on the grid. Hence, when Hamilton questioned Lauda – an Austrian world champion- about switching from McLaren to his team, it was Lauda’s response that persuaded him.

“I was speechless for 10 seconds. What do I say now? He’s correct,” thought the late great, before responding with a question: However, have you considered what it would mean if you were to win a World Championship in a Mercedes? It would serve as undeniable proof that you are the first-ever World Champion driving one.”

He added that his first victory was making the person think in a certain direction.

Afterwards, he convinced them to join by promising to provide their team with a competitive car and putting forth all possible effort towards achieving this goal. He assured them of his sincerity in these efforts.

After being convinced by Lauda’s commitment and the enticing prospect of driving a Mercedes, victory was inevitable. As we all know, history has proven this to be true.

The Brit now plans to rejoin his former team with hopes of achieving their ultimate goal – an eighth championship win! Needless to say, curiosity is piqued as we eagerly await the results of this decision.