‘Non-poaching’ clause in Mercedes deal to stop staff following Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton's hopes of taking key Mercedes F1 staff with him to Ferrari may have hit a stumbling block.

Lewis Hamilton shares a special bond with his race engineer 'Bono'
Lewis Hamilton shares a special bond with his race engineer 'Bono'

Lewis Hamilton may not be able to take key members of the Mercedes F1 team with him to Ferrari in 2025 because of a clause in his current contract.

Crash.net understands that a ‘non-poaching’ clause was inserted into the seven-time world champion’s current Mercedes deal to prevent a mass exodus of staff.

Sources have confirmed such a clause exists in Hamilton’s contract, potentially scuppering his hopes of reuniting with key figures at Ferrari.

However, the clause cannot stop a move if both parties agree to a deal.

Last week Hamilton stunned the F1 world by announcing a seismic switch to Ferrari next season on a multi-year deal, having activated a break clause in his current Mercedes contract.

It had been widely reported in Italian media that Hamilton hoped to lure several key Mercedes personnel along with him, such as long-time race engineer Peter ‘Bono’ Bonnington.

These suggestions drew comparisons to when Michael Schumacher was joined in moving from Benetton to Ferrari by key staff including the likes of technical director Ross Brawn and chief designer Rory Byrne in 1996.

Bonnington, who has been at Brackley since the early Honda days, has worked alongside Hamilton ever since the Briton joined Mercedes back in 2013 and the pair have forged a special relationship.

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has already admitted that Bonnington’s future needs to be discussed amid talk of a move to Ferrari.

"I think this is a discussion which everyone needs to have in the months to come," Wolff said.

"And as much as I've spoken with Bono already, when I told him [about Hamilton's move] he said, 'Is it April the first?' That's something which we will discuss in the future."

Hamilton will find familiar faces at Ferrari in team principal Fred Vasseur, who managed ART Grand Prix during Hamilton’s title-winning GP2 campaign, and Jock Clear, who previously worked at Mercedes.

Former Mercedes performance director Loic Serra is also set to officially start work at Ferrari in 2025. 

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