There was speculation that Lewis Hamilton might be able to take trusted Mercedes allies, such as long-time race engineer Peter ‘Bono’ Bonnington, with him to Ferrari
Lewis Hamilton is banned from asking key Mercedes allies to join him at Ferrari, Mirror Sport can confirm.
The seven-time world champion will leave for Ferrari at the end of the season, bringing to an end what will be an 11-year stint with the Silver Arrows. And there were reports that he might take some of his closest allies with him.
But it is understood that a clause in the contract Hamilton signed last year prevents him from doing so. It means he will be unable to take his most trusted confidants, such as race engineer Peter Bonnington, with him to Maranello.
Bonnington, affectionately known as ‘Bono’, has been Hamilton’s main race engineer ever since he joined Mercedes ahead of the 2013 season. Before that, he performed the same role for another seven-time title-winner in Michael Schumacher.
Some reports in the days following Hamilton’s announcement that he would be leaving for Ferrari at the end of the year suggested ‘Bono’ and others may follow him to Italy. But the ‘no-poaching’ clause in Hamilton’s contract prevents him from asking his trusted ally to do that.
Despite the relationship Bonnington has with Hamilton, it appears he was as surprised as everyone else by the news that Hamilton is leaving. Team principal Toto Wolff suggested as much as he was asked about the race engineer’s future.
He said: “I think this is a discussion which everyone needs to have in the months to come. And as much as I’ve spoken with Bono already, when I told him he said, ‘Is it April the first?’ That’s something which we will discuss in the future.”