It goes with out saying that each Mercedes and Ferrari are a little bit of a large number in 2023, and that phrasing is extraordinarily beneficiant. Any hopes of difficult Purple Bull this season are out the window, and it’s reached the purpose the place Fernando Alonso’s breakout for Aston Martin has bumped them into second place within the constructors’ championship, leaving two of F1’s hottest groups of their wake.
A shake up is required — and Ferrari are reportedly all for placing Lewis Hamilton within the purple automotive subsequent season. How this may look is a little bit of a thriller, however there’s one answer that clearly and clearly is sensible: There ought to be a driver swap of Hamilton for Charles Leclerc.
On the floor this might sound ridiculous. Leclerc is the motive force of the long run, proper? The younger star designed to carry Ferrari again to prominence? Nicely, perhaps not. We’re now 5 years into this experiment, and it simply isn’t understanding. There are some key explanation why a shake up for each groups would make all of the sense on the planet and set them up for a brand new future.
No. 1: Sainz is a greater match for Ferrari
Ferrari remains to be in turmoil since Mattia Binotti’s retirement earlier than the season, and Leclerc hasn’t seemed snug within the new automotive. Final season Charles carried a slim edge over Carlos Sainz, however that has evaporated in 2023.
Sainz is a greater, extra affected person match for a staff nonetheless making an attempt to show the web page and set up its subsequent chapter. We additionally know that Hamilton is historically stoic, excels at not making waves, and is usually a lot better at being in a spot the place he can tolerate a rework. As well as, Hamilton’s expertise can collaborate with Ferrari to make the staff higher.
No. 2: Mercedes goes very younger, and really brash
Mercedes has engineering problems with their very own in 2023, however they’re far much less prevalent that these of Ferrari. The staff is looking forward to the long run, and what higher manner than pairing George Russell and Charles Leclerc?
It’s a younger, fairly, advertising and marketing dream that ushers in a brand new period of F1 at Mercedes and enormously lessens the blow of claiming goodbye to Hamilton. Whereas changing Lewis isn’t one thing you may simply do simply, it does go an extended solution to beginning a youth motion that may maintain the staff for the subsequent decade.
No. 3: Hamilton is the right stop-gap whereas Ferrari decides on their subsequent step
Let’s be actual: Hamilton solely has a 12 months or two left at greatest. After that Mercedes wants to take a look at who they plan to poach.
Proper now there’s a little bit of a vacuum on the subject of younger drivers. The subsequent most-likely candidates to make a swap to an enormous staff are Lance Stroll, Yuki Tsunoda, or both of McLaren’s struggling kids. No one from this quartet is able to transfer up simply but and carry the load on a top-flight staff.
Nonetheless, if Mercedes made the swap to Leclerc now they’re settled for the long run. In the meantime Ferrari would get a 12 months or two with a view to get their automotive collectively, earlier than making an enormous splash on somebody like Theo Pourchaire or Frederick Vesti, each of whom are tearing up System 2 and appear destined for greatness.
Might a swap like this occur?
Realistically, in all probability not. Firstly it means Mercedes parting methods with Hamilton, one thing they’re so loathed to try this they are going to in all probability throw as a lot cash as wanted to maintain him within the fold. Secondly, it might require Ferrari to go together with Sainz over Leclerc, which feels inconceivable as nicely.
That stated, it doesn’t imply this wouldn’t be the very best transfer for each groups. If both wish to get it collectively and attempt to push Purple Bull in 2024 they should do one thing totally different, as a result of the established order is simply permitting for each groups to play third and fourth fiddle at this level.