Domenicali’s bold defense of Ferrari’s shocking swap

F1’s top executive, Stefano Domenicali, has stood firmly by Ferrari’s decision to replace Carlos Sainz with Lewis Hamilton starting from 2025, despite Sainz’s victory in Melbourne and his current top-notch performance. Sainz, at 29, faces the dilemma of seeking another competitive team for the coming year, even as he shows superior form compared to his current teammate Charles Leclerc and Hamilton himself.

During a conversation with Italian journalist Leo Turrini, Domenicali was questioned about Ferrari’s competitive edge and the debates surrounding Hamilton’s future role. Domenicali responded to inquiries about Hamilton’s involvement by questioning, “What does Lewis have to do with it?” Turrini highlighted the timing of Sainz’s departure as he reaches his career’s pinnacle. Domenicali acknowledged the sentiment, stating, “Someone thinks there is no need for a seven-time world champion?” He further clarified, “I understand the reasoning, but it’s a wrong reasoning,” indicating his support for Ferrari’s strategy during an interview with Turrini and Quotidiano.

Domenicali, once at the helm of Ferrari, believes Sainz won’t struggle to secure a competitive seat in the future. “I would like to start by saying that Carlos is a gentleman driver and it is no coincidence that he is the man of the market at the moment,” Domenicali mentioned, confident in Sainz’s ability to find a worthy team. “He will find a position that is up to his qualities.” On Hamilton’s acquisition, he expressed, “But with Hamilton, Ferrari has made a great decision, not only at a marketing level. It is a strategic choice.”

Addressing concerns about Hamilton’s age as he approaches 40, Domenicali confidently dismissed them, saying, “Who, Lewis?” He assured, “No. I am present at all the races and Hamilton has lost none of his talent and is still hungry for success.”

The discussion then shifted to Hamilton’s potential to replicate Michael Schumacher’s transformative impact on Ferrari. Domenicali agreed with the comparison but noted a key difference, emphasizing that Hamilton would face a competitive teammate in Leclerc, who wouldn’t settle for a secondary role. “Schumi was the absolute dominus while (Eddie) Irvine was clearly the number 2. Lewis will now have to compete with someone as good as Leclerc, who will never accept domestique duties.”

Domenicali also touched on Max Verstappen’s current dominance with Red Bull, which some fans find disheartening. He countered, “I’m surprised you say that,” recalling Ferrari’s recent one-two finish in Australia as a sign of competition. “Seriously, I understand the objection. We are living in a historical period dominated by Red Bull. But it’s nothing new, there have always been cycles in Formula 1.”

Expressing hope for Ferrari’s resurgence, Domenicali remarked, “In my opinion they are working well in Maranello,” praising the team’s exceptional performance in Melbourne. He cautiously placed Verstappen as the favorite but acknowledged Ferrari’s significant progress.

Lastly, when questioned about the controversy surrounding Red Bull’s team leader Christian Horner, Domenicali preferred to remain neutral, emphasizing his wish for Formula 1’s reputation to be upheld by all its members.

GMM

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