RACE DEBRIEF

    The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend was awash with chatter that Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari could become a ‘thing’ in 2021, following a meeting between the six-time world champion and Ferrari’s Chairman John Elkann. But Ferrari CEO Louis Camilleri says that the meet was a “social event” that has “been blown somewhat out of proportion”…

    The 2021 driver market is set to be one of the most exciting in living memory, with almost all the grid – including Hamilton, Max Verstappen, Sebastian Vettel and Valtteri Bottas – out of contract at the end of 2020.

    Hamilton has been with Mercedes since 2013, but his relationship with the German manufacturer stretches back further, as they were an engine supplier with his first team McLaren.

    However, he is the hottest property on the grid and a move to the famous Prancing Horse became a talking point again when his meeting with Elkann became public.

    READ MORE: Could Ferrari really sign Hamilton for 2021? We look at the probabilities

    We clearly are very flattered that Lewis wants to come and join us, but it would be premature to decide anything today

    Louis Camilleri

    But speaking at Ferrari’s Christmas media lunch regarding the encounter, Camilleri said: “Obviously, it was a social event, which has sort of been blown somewhat out of proportion, but it was a social event. They have some common friends.”

    Regarding Ferrari’s driver line-up, Charles Leclerc has a “long-term agreement” with the team, which means if there is a change in 2021 at the Scuderia, it will be Sebastian Vettel departing. But Camillieri – who admitted he has not met with Hamilton himself – said there was no rush to make a call.

    “The fact is we have a long-term agreement with one driver and with the other driver the agreement expires at the end of 2020,” he said.

    “We clearly are very flattered that Lewis in particular, and other drivers want to come and join us, but it would be premature to decide anything today. It would be premature to decide anything now for the future.”

    READ MORE: Ferrari lost the championship when we designed the car, says Binotto

    2019 Belgian GP

    Regarding Vettel’s position in the team, Team Principal Mattia Binotto said they need to sit down with the four-time world champion – who has made a flurry of mistakes this year and was outperformed by team mate Leclerc – and see what his intentions were and how that fits with Ferrari’s future plans.

    “As I often said, this season, I feel more lucky in having such a line-up,” he said. “I'm pretty convinced of that. I think that with Seb we need to sit down to discuss ways we set to understand his intentions for the future.

    “I think we need to see our strategy developing next year. I think we need to see as well the performance and how he does fit with the car and his motivation for the future.

    “So, it’s not about his mistakes or not. It’s really a matter of how he does see himself as far as his future and how we do see our line-up.”

    READ MORE: ‘I must do better in 2020’ – Vettel

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