Although in the world of F1 Mercedes does not have the aura of approaching Ferrari, let alone Red Bull, they have been beating the legendary stable on the circuits for a long time. Ferrari enjoyed its greatest glory in the era of Michael Schumacher, the last title was won for it by Finn Kimi Räikkönen in 2007. Since then, the Italians have been dry.
They tried to deal with failure in the same way as now with Hamilton: luring the stars. But the bet on Sebastian Vettel or Fernando Alonso did not work out. It was not so much the drivers who failed as Ferrari itself, whether it was the unreliability of the technology or the mistakes of the team’s strategists during the races. Hamilton has to end Ferrari’s endless misery, but the price for the engagement of the best of the best is not low.
Hamilton in Mercedes receives 35 million dollars a year (over eight hundred million crowns). Last season, he was the second highest paid driver behind the first Verstappen with 55 million. The amount of Hamilton’s future salary has not yet been officially announced, but it is speculated to be between 35 and 55 million. It must be added that most of the other drivers for participating in the competition, which has dozens of fatal accidents, received only units of millions last year.
Investor in rainbow helmet
Hamilton is one of the few Formula 1 drivers who was not born into a wealthy family. His father once worked three jobs at once so Lewis could race go-karts. Even then, the future champion dreamed of representing the red colors of Ferrari, and in previous years he also made no secret of the fact that he wanted to symbolically conclude his stellar career in this stable. Still, his just-announced transfer seems much more like a rational choice than a triumph of emotion.
From 2026, there are going to be significant changes to the rules in F1, for example the cars will be smaller and the engines will only be allowed to refuel with carbon neutral fuels. This is not to the liking of Red Bull, who will have to rebuild his fleet, with which he has dominated the F1 world in recent years. On the contrary, Ferrari can be helped by the new rules, the team is on an upward course and has already brought in the highly respected French engineer Loïc Serra from the struggling Mercedes. Hamilton will thus have a decent chance to add an eighth title and Ferrari to end the years without this trophy.
In the billionaire F1 show, you wouldn’t find a driver who is so well-known worldwide, paid for as a celebrity even outside of sports circles, but who also stirs up considerable controversy. Ferrari now associates its name with a very politically active personality.
The importance of climate change, his big theme, Hamilton has supported by selling his private jet and changing his lifestyle to create a lower carbon footprint (however, he hasn’t gotten off the formula yet). Shows sympathy to the Black Lives Matter movement and strongly criticizes human rights violations. He is known for his rainbow helmet, with which he raced in the Middle East to express his disapproval of the local criminalization of the LGBT+ community, or his appearance in Hungary against the country’s anti-LGBT law.
But Hamilton is also very active in the business field. He became one of the investors in the American fashion magazine W, cooperates with fashion brands Tommy Hilfiger, Puma, cosmetics L’Oreal, with large companies such as Sony, Bose, Petronas, Vodafone or Qualcomm. As a vegan, which he made from his bulldog, Hamilton is also involved in the food business. He invested in the Neat Burger chain, which offers meat-free sandwiches, or in Chile’s NotCo, which sells plant-based meals. He also invested in New York’s Bowery Farming, the largest vertical farm in the USA.
Ferrari shares are on the rise
The owner of Formula 1, American Liberty Media, can rub its hands. Lewis Hamilton’s grandiose association with Ferrari will draw even more attention to a competition that is already doing well. According to Forbes magazine, Liberty Media is the most valuable sports empire in the world. Its value reaches 18.2 billion dollars. For comparison: in second place, with a value of 15.6 billion dollars, was the American group Kroenke Sports & Entertainment, which includes, among others, football players of the London Arsenal, hockey players of the Colorado Avalanche, many basketball and NFL teams from overseas and many sports arenas.
Ferrari shares rose by around twelve percent on Thursday, February 1, when Hamilton’s transfer was confirmed by both teams. That the arrival of a big star would have such an effect? “From the car company’s point of view, I do not see Hamilton’s transfer as business-critical news. Determining the impact of similar personnel events on stock valuations is always difficult,” Tomáš Pfeiler, portfolio manager of Cyrrus, tames such considerations.
The reason for the increase in the share price was the car company’s financial results published on the same day, which “beat analytical expectations, and Ferrari also announced an encouraging outlook for 2024. It has practically sold out its entire production for the next two years,” Pfeiler specifies. The luxury car manufacturer increased its net profit by a third last year to a record one and a quarter billion euros. He crossed the billion mark for the first time ever.