Lewis Hamilton's shock signing for Ferrari from 2025 has the Formula One world in a tizzy – but also the automotive one.
Ferrari's market capitalisation surged US$7 billion in the wake of the Hamilton news (to US$69 billion), surely justifying whatever cost it took to lure over the seven-time F1 champ.
As well as the obvious potential to win Ferrari grands prix, Hamilton will also be a boon for Ferrari's road car business, one that is becoming more and more profitable.
For starters, Hamilton already reportedly owns three Ferraris and is a fan of the Prancing Horse's road cars. As well as a rare Ferrari 599 SA Aperta, Hamilton has two LaFerraris – one with a roof, and an Aperta.
He will be a genuine brand ambassador for Ferrari sports cars. Unlike some F1 drivers past and present – who couldn't care less about road cars, and to whom getting behind the wheel is nothing but a job – Hamilton loves cars.
As well as the Ferraris – handy to already have – his collection has included a custom-made Pagani Zonda, an original Shelby Cobra, an AMG One and AMG GT Black Series. Travel to Monaco, where Hamilton lives – just one of his many properties around the world – and you might have just spotted him cruising around in his custom purple V12 Zonda (before he sold it in 2022, anyway).
But perhaps the biggest opportunity for Ferrari's road car division are the circles Hamilton moves in.
A mover and shaker with the rich and famous, Hamilton – who turns 40 next year – is a brand unto himself with wide-ranging endorsements from Puma, Police and even cosmetic giant L'Oreal. Hamilton has even designed a range of his own high-end clothing with Tommy Hilfiger. Of all the F1 drivers, the Hamilton brand is the most widely known, transcending the somewhat niche world of grand prix racing.
An indirect and unofficial ambassador for Formula One, Hamilton frequents the world's biggest fashion runways from New York's Met Gala to the Paris Fashion Week and counts as his friends celebrities from Elton John to Kim Kardashian, Pharrell Williams, Brad Pitt, Justin Bieber, Leonardo DiCaprio and LeBron James. Hamilton was once spotted driving a LaFerrari around the streets of Hollywood with Bieber.
The potential for Hamilton to spearhead the Ferrari brand – and sales of its high-end sports cars – into new pockets of opportunity is an enormous one. And one doubtless not lost on Ferrari President John Elkann as he presumably signed a contract with a dollar figure the average person could only dream about.
Hamilton thrashing a blood-red Ferrari road car around Fiorano? We can't wait to see it.