Lewis Hamilton's availability would make Ferrari 'happy', says Binotto

By Sports Desk November 29, 2019

Ferrari would be "happy" if Lewis Hamilton was available to sign elsewhere after next season, team principal Mattia Binotto has said.

Hamilton wrapped up his sixth Formula One world title, and his third in a row, earlier this month as Mercedes continued their dominance with a sixth consecutive drivers' and constructors' championship double.

The Briton is under contract with Mercedes for next season but his deal, like that of team chief Toto Wolff, expires in 2020.

Hamilton hinted his future is dependent on Wolff's next move and the prospect of the world's leading driver being free to sign elsewhere in 2021 has not bypassed Ferrari, who have not had a driver win the title since Kimi Raikkonen in 2007.

"Lewis is certainly an outstanding driver, a fantastic driver," Binotto told reporters after the first day of practice at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

"Knowing that he's available in 2021 can make us only happy, but honestly it's too early for any decision, so we are happy with the drivers we've got at the moment.

"I think certainly at one stage next season we will start discussing and understanding what to do."

Wolff conceded his own future is also linked to what Hamilton decides to do next.

"I think we have built up a lot of trust," the Mercedes boss added.

"At the same time, the two of us are part of a wider organisation where everybody is playing in their relative field of competence.

"I think for him to say that is nice. I'd also like to know where he goes or if he stays in the future. And we are having those discussions about the future and I think it is very important between the two of us, like between many others that have played an important role within that team.

"Can I shed more light? No, for me it was important to finish the season in Abu Dhabi. There are many things to be decided on and we will see over the winter."

Wolff will have been pleased with how Friday's second practice went at the Yas Marina Circuit as Bottas led home Hamilton in a Mercedes one-two.

Bottas, who will start the race from the back of the grid due to a penalty for excessive engine usage, was also involved in a surprise crash when he collided with Haas' Romain Grosjean.

The Finn was not the only one to run into trouble as Ferrari duo Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel both crashed at Turn 19 across the two sessions.

Related items

  • Coronavirus: F1 teams open to two-day GPs and season extension Coronavirus: F1 teams open to two-day GPs and season extension

    Formula One teams are discussing the prospect of holding two-day grands prix and extending the 2020 season until January 2021.

    Chase Carey, the CEO of F1, is still hoping to hold 15 to 18 races this season once normality has returned after the coronavirus pandemic.

    The first eight races of the campaign are either postponed or cancelled with more likely to follow as lockdown restrictions remain widespread.

    Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto thinks teams will be as flexible as possible to find a solution, including two-day race weekends with practice held on a Saturday.

    "We are engaged in constant dialogue," Binotto told Sky Italia. "I have felt, along with the other team principals, that these are crucial moments. 

    "With regards to the timetable, we have given Carey and the FIA the freedom to define the calendar as they need to under these conditions.

    "We can also have two-day weekends, with free practice moved to Saturday morning, so that we can meet the logistical needs in case of grands prix being close together.

    "In addition, the current shutdown leaves room for the possibility of being able to compete in August if there are conditions to be able to do so."

    Binotto would be willing to race into 2021 if it meant something closer to a full championship could take place.

    He, his drivers Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel, as well as the whole Ferrari team, are working remotely.

    "These are all places where we, as a team, need to ensure maximum availability," Binotto said about extending the season.

    "If this [move] allows us to guarantee a more complete 2020 world championship, with the following season not starting until March, there is great availability for that.

    "We started [remote] smart-working right after Australia. Now we're in FIA shutdown, which continues the period that in our case started early.

    "With Seb and Charles, we speak almost daily. They are both at home and they are training as always. They are undoubtedly fit."

  • Coronavirus: Indy 500 postponed until August 23 Coronavirus: Indy 500 postponed until August 23

    The Indianapolis 500 has been postponed until August 23 due to the coronavirus crisis.

    May 24 was due to be the date for the most prestigious motor race in the United States, but it has been put back three months.

    Fernando Alonso will be among the drivers at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as the two-time Formula One world champion makes another attempt to complete the triple crown - winning the Monaco Grand Prix, Le Mans and Indy 500.

    Track owner Roger Penske said: "The Month of May at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is my favourite time of year, and like our fans, I am disappointed that we have had to reschedule the Indianapolis 500.

    "However, the health and safety of our event participants and spectators is our top priority, and we believe that postponing the event is the responsible decision with the conditions and restrictions we are facing.

    "We will continue to focus on ways we can enhance the customer experience in the months ahead, and I’m confident we will welcome fans with a transformed facility and a global spectacle when we run the world's greatest race."

    There will be practice sessions at the track on August 12 and 13, with Fast Friday to come the following day. Indy 500 qualification will be staged on August 15-16.

  • Coronavirus: MotoGP to revise 2020 calendar again as Spanish Grand Prix postponed Coronavirus: MotoGP to revise 2020 calendar again as Spanish Grand Prix postponed

    The start of the 2020 MotoGP season has again been delayed after the Spanish Grand Prix became the latest race to be postponed.

    Jerez was due to host the opening race of the rearranged schedule on May 3, but those plans have had to be shelved due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

    A statement on the MotoGP website confirmed the event will be rescheduled for later in the year, with a revised calendar to be released "as soon as available".

    "As the situation remains in a state of constant evolution, a new date for the Spanish GP cannot be confirmed until it becomes clearer when exactly it will be possible to hold the event," the statement read.

    "A revised calendar will be published as soon as available."

    Qatar was only able to stage Moto2 and Moto3 events, while races in Argentina, Thailand and the United States have all been postponed because of the virus.

    The Argentinian Grand Prix was previously moved to November 22, meaning the Valencia Grand Prix was pushed back to the following week to ensure it remains the final event.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.