F1 Rumor: Lewis Hamilton Loses Bono as Mercedes Close Doors on Poaching Attempt

Published 02/08/2024, 4:31 AM EST

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The F1 world is yet to recover from the shock that Lewis Hamilton gave us a week ago by announcing his move to Ferrari in 2025. It’s a move that will surely have a lot of repercussions throughout the 2024 season and even beyond. Experts have been speculating about every shift in the F1 landscape that’s now possible. One of the speculations was that quite a few of Mercedes employees including Hamilton’s long-time race engineer Peter Bonnington would follow him to Ferrari. This move is not uncommon in F1, as top drivers often bring along key members from their previous teams to help ease their transition into a new environment. However, recent reports are suggesting that it might not actually be possible for Hamilton to bring along Bono.

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One of the prime examples of key team members following the driver to another team is when technical director Ross Brawn and chief designer Rory Byrne followed Michael Schumacher when the German switched from Benetton to Ferrari in 1996. Bono and Hamilton have a special relationship which started in 2013 when Hamilton first switched to Mercedes.

Lewis Hamilton can’t take away his race engineer Bono from Mercedes

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There has been speculation about Lewis Hamilton possibly bringing along some of his Mercedes team members, like his race engineer Peter Bonnington and Head of Track Operations Andrew Shovlin to Ferrari in 2025. But it turns out, this might not be possible. According to Motorsport Italy, when Hamilton signed the 2-year extension with Mercedes last year in August, the contract reportedly had a special non-poaching clause. This clause stops him from taking any of his current Mercedes crew to Ferrari.

The so-called ‘non-poaching’ clause prevents Hamilton from even suggesting his crew members join him at Ferrari. This move is also a common tactic used by the teams in F1 contracts for top managers and even top drivers to prevent the loss of significant staff.

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And even if Hamilton were to convince Mercedes to let Bono go anyway, it wouldn’t be easy on Peter. He still has to complete his job in the 2024 season with Mercedes, which means working till December 8 to see through the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix before moving to Ferrari in 2025. And even if Bono was allowed to do so, it would depend on Bono if he even wanted to get into the chaos of moving to Italy.

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With the absence of his most trusted man, Hamilton will have to dig deep in order to go up against Leclerc.

Hamilton is essentially stepping into Charles Leclerc’s territory in Ferrari

There’s no doubt that Mercedes is Hamilton’s team, at least it still is. And there’s also no doubt that Ferrari is built around Charles Leclerc. For anyone who thinks that there’s no clear favorite at Ferrari, just the fact that the Scuderia was willing to tie down Leclerc till 2029 while not even willing to give a 2 or 3-year extension to Carlos Sainz is proof enough that Ferrari is Leclerc’s team.

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And so, Lewis Hamilton is entering the territory of the Monegasque. Now it’s clear that there will be no favorites at Ferrari as long as Lewis Hamilton is there because the 7-time world champion will be no one’s #2. But Leclerc knows the team like the back of his hand. And Hamilton will need some time to adjust to the new culture at Ferrari. He will need all the help possible from the team to settle down as quickly as possible.

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Watch This Story | F1 veteran shocked as Charles Leclerc’s bratty behavior is overlooked by Ferrari in surprising decision

Do you think Hamilton will be on par with Leclerc right away in 2025? Or will the Monegasque have an edge over the 7-time champion? Share your insights down below in the comments.

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Written by:

Veerendra Vikram Singh

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"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking." Hi there, I am Veer and I come from a family that lives and breathes football, but somehow I never could fit into that mold.
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Edited by:

Akash Pandhare

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