Ex-Lewis Hamilton Ally Responds to Fans Arguing That Ferrari Should Reconsider Their Carlos Sainz Decision

Ex-Lewis Hamilton Ally Responds to Fans Arguing That Ferrari Should Reconsider Their Carlos Sainz Decision
Credits: IMAGO / Eibner

Ever since Carlos Sainz started the 2024 season with multiple podiums, including a Grand Prix win, there have been noises against his departure from Ferrari. Many fans have argued that Ferrari should reconsider their decision to part ways with a driver of Sainz’s caliber who has adjusted well at the Maranello outfit for over three years now. One of Hamilton’s former allies from his McLaren days, Marc Priestley, has responded to these sentiments and reasoned what value the seven-time champion brings to the table than just being another driver for Ferrari.

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Speaking in one of his YouTube videos, Priestley highlighted the impact of Hamilton’s shock switch to the Italian outfit, when the news came out. He mentioned how Ferrari gained about $7 billion in terms of its stock value [market capitalization], which reflects the enormous “marketing value”, the British driver brings onboard.

The former McLaren pit crew member then ruminated on whether one should “question” the signing of Hamilton over Sainz, given what the #44 driver has achieved in his career so far. He said, “He (Hamilton) is brilliant behind the wheel, we know what he can do in a car and actually Ferrari can benefit from all of his skills and his experience”.

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Besides Hamilton’s on-track brilliance, the commercial and marketability aspects are more of an added bonus for the Prancing Horse. However, the biggest motivator for Hamilton and even more so for Ferrari would be their drive to win the championship again.

The Briton is keen to win his record eighth world title, and Priestley believes the 39-year-old would love “to do it in a red Ferrari”. On the other hand, it is understandable that the Italian team is desperate to end their championship hiatus of over 17 years. So, this drive and passion would help Hamilton to seamlessly hit the ground running at Ferrari.

However, Carlos Sainz’s narrative is not weak either. Priestley cited how he regrets that the #55 driver has lost his Ferrari seat. But he feels that Sainz can secure his future elsewhere.

Is it fair on Carlos Sainz and where does his future lie now?

The way Carlos Sainz settled in smoothly at Ferrari since 2021, it never felt as if the team would want to part ways with him. Had it not been for the attractive opportunity to sign up a seven-time champion like Lewis Hamilton, Ferrari would have retained the Spaniard certainly.

From a team dynamic perspective, Sainz got along exceptionally well with Charles Leclerc, forming a potent and one of the strongest teammate pairings on the current grid. Hence, it seems futile for Ferrari to break up such a harmonious pairing of drivers, who have been the strongest aspect of the team’s operation despite the car and strategic aspects not being up to the mark.

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However, the deal has been signed and Sainz will have to look for a team elsewhere, and he has some options open. The most logical option at the moment seems a straight swap with Hamilton for his Mercedes seat. Even Marc Priestley mentioned that the 29-year-old would fit perfectly into the Brackley-based team.

But, Mercedes are evaluating their options about who should they sign up as Hamilton’s replacement. While Sainz is a possible option for them, Toto Wolff is quite keen on seeing how the Mercedes academy prodigy Andrea Kimi Antonelli comes along.

Antonelli is currently racing in F2 this year and will only turn 18 in 2025. So, from an experience perspective, Mercedes would be taking a bold bet on the Italian prodigy. This is where Sainz’s race-winning caliber and F1 experience may give him an advantage at the negotiation table with Wolff.

Still, the Austrian boss is keen on Antonelli being part of Mercedes’ long-term future plans. Relatively, Sainz is more of a medium-term option as he enters his 30s next year, and is probably at his peak in terms of performance.

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