Apr.3 - F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali has defended Ferrari's decision to oust Melbourne winner Carlos Sainz in favour of Lewis Hamilton from 2025.

Sainz, 29, is in the awkward situation of trying to find an alternate competitive cockpit for next year whilst arguably being in better form than both his continuing Ferrari teammate Charles Leclerc and also Hamilton.

When asked about Ferrari's rising competitiveness and the controversy surrounding Hamilton, Domenicali told the Italian journalist Leo Turrini: "What does Lewis have to do with it?"

Turrini told him that the controversy is that Sainz is being ousted just as he's hitting peak form. "Someone thinks there is no need for a seven time world champion?

"I understand the reasoning, but it's a wrong reasoning," Domenicali, a former Ferrari team boss, told Turrini and the Quotidiano publication.

The 58-year-old Italian thinks Sainz will have no trouble finding a fast car for 2025 and beyond.

"I would like to start by saying that Carlos is a gentleman driver and it is no coincidence that he is the man of the market at the moment," said Domenicali. "He will find a position that is up to his qualities.

"But with Hamilton, Ferrari has made a great decision, not only at a marketing level. It is a strategic choice."

When told that some think Hamilton - who will be 40 when he pulls on the famous red overalls - is too old to return glory to Maranello, Domenicali answered: "Who, Lewis?

"No. I am present at all the races and Hamilton has lost none of his talent and is still hungry for success."

Turrini said current Ferrari boss Frederic Vasseur might be thinking Hamilton can be "the new Schumi" - a reference to the way Michael Schumacher's arrival in red ultimately ended the team's long title drought.

"Yes," Domenicali responded, "but there is certainly a difference, and I'm not referring to age, although Michael was much younger when he arrived in Italy.

"Schumi was the absolute dominus while (Eddie) Irvine was clearly the number 2. Lewis will now have to compete with someone as good as Leclerc, who will never accept domestique duties.

"But I believe Fred is perfectly capable of managing the situation that he helped to bring about."

The conversation then turned to Red Bull and Max Verstappen's utter dominance at present, which according to many fans is a major turnoff.

"I'm surprised you say that," Domenicali laughed. "Aren't we just coming off a beautiful Ferrari one-two in Australia?

"Seriously, I understand the objection. We are living in a historical period dominated by Red Bull. But it's nothing new, there have always been cycles in Formula 1. I was at Ferrari when between 1999 and 2008 we won six drivers' titles and eight constructors'."

He now quietly hopes that Ferrari might once again be on the cusp of greatness.

"In my opinion they are working well in Maranello," said Domenicali. "In Melbourne, the Scuderia offered an extraordinary demonstration of competitiveness. Although of course I also continue to consider Verstappen the logical favourite.

"But Ferrari has made a leap forward, separating itself from the other teams, like Mercedes. It's significant - not a small detail."

Finally, Domenicali was asked to comment on the ongoing power struggle at Red Bull, involving the scandal surrounding its team boss Christian Horner.

"It's a topic in which I'm completely unfamiliar," the Italian insists. "So I don't make any comments.

"I simply hope that the image of Formula 1 is respected by everyone who belongs to our world."

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