F1 CEO Warns Lewis Hamilton of Ferrari 'Mentality'

The 7-time champion is going to have to adapt to the culture of the Scuderia.
Nov 15, 2023; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Mercedes AMG Petronas driver Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain
Nov 15, 2023; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Mercedes AMG Petronas driver Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain / Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali has discussed the surprising move made by Lewis Hamilton as he leaves the Mercedes fold to join Ferrari. He spoke not only about the excitement of such a move, but also about the adjustments the 7-time champion may have to make as he moves his allegiance to the Scuderia.

As the Formula 1 landscape prepares for one of its most seismic shifts in recent years, with Lewis Hamilton's move to Ferrari announced for the 2025 season, F1 CEO and former Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali has issued a gentle warning about the cultural changes Hamilton will encounter at the iconic Italian team.

"Lewis needs to understand the mentality of Maranello and Italy and I'm sure he is very curious about that," Domenicali noted to Sky Sports F1, as quoted by Racing365.nl. This move will be a substantial change for the driver, who will not only have to relearn the new processes of the Ferrari team, but also fit into a highly different culture, albeit alongside his former colleague, now team principal of the Imola squad, Fred Vasseur.

Domenicali, who has seen many drivers come and go at Ferrari during his tenure, highlighted that integrating into the Ferrari culture is not solely about adapting to a new team but also to a lifestyle and work ethos that is distinctly Italian. The nuances of such an environment are often marked by passionate fans and a venerable racing heritage which differ significantly from Hamilton's long-standing tenure at Mercedes.

"For us as Formula 1 it is incredible news," he said. "It's a new opportunity, a new chapter in Lewis' career and also a new chapter for Ferrari. This has already taken us to 2025, even though we are only at the beginning of the 2024 chapter. I think it's become an incredible story."

Hamilton's departure from Mercedes, after a celebrated and transformative 11-year stint, has been a poignant affair. The British driver himself acknowledged the depth of his ties with Mercedes and how difficult is will be leaving at the end of the year.

“I have had an amazing 11 years with this team and I'm so proud of what we have achieved together," Hamilton said.

"Mercedes has been part of my life since I was 13 years old. It's a place where I have grown up, so making the decision to leave was one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make.

"But the time is right for me to take this step and I'm excited to be taking on a new challenge. I will be forever grateful for the incredible support of my Mercedes family, especially Toto for his friendship and leadership and I want to finish on a high together.

"I am 100% committed to delivering the best performance I can this season and making my last year with the Silver Arrows, one to remember.”

With Hamilton's move, Ferrari not only gains a seasoned champion but also an opportunity to invigorate their team dynamics, potentially enhancing the performance and morale of the entire team, including that of his future teammate, Charles Leclerc.

Alex Harrington


Alex is the editor-in-chief of F1 editorial. He fell in love with F1 at the young age of 7 after hearing the scream of naturally aspirated V10s echo through his grandparents' lounge. That year he watched as Michael Schumacher took home his fifth championship win with Ferrari, and has been unable to look away since.