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EXCLUSIVE: Star driver reveals why he turned down 10-year Ferrari contract

EXCLUSIVE: Star driver reveals why he turned down 10-year Ferrari contract

EXCLUSIVE: Star driver reveals why he turned down 10-year Ferrari contract

EXCLUSIVE: Star driver reveals why he turned down 10-year Ferrari contract

The pathway to Formula 1 is riddled with challenges and decisions that can significantly impact a young driver's career, including temptation from the top.

In the modern era, joining one of the team's academies can be a golden ticket, and looking at recent graduates, it seems like the only way to reach Formula 1.

READ MORE: F1 star handed SPEEDING fine at Japanese GP

Recent examples include Yuki Tsunoda with the Red Bull Junior Team, Logan Sargeant via the Williams Racing Driver Academy, and Oscar Piastri using the Alpine Academy to jump to the top, albeit eventually graduating with McLaren.

The Ferrari Driver Academy nurtured Charles Leclerc and Mick Schumacher, and the Italian outfit recently eyed another promising talent and promptly offered a 10-year contract to obtain their loyalty.

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Ferrari's decade-long deal

Ferrari offered a contract

Dutch Formula 4 driver, 15-year-old René Lammers, won Ferrari's secretive scouting camp, a six-driver shootout at Maranello, last year as he looks to repeat his father and join F1 after becoming the CIK-FIA European champion in 2023.

René's father, Jan Lammers, spoke exclusively to GPFans and shared how Ferrari offered to recruit his son on a decade-long deal and why, in the end, they chose a different path.

"Initially, it looked very promising," Lammers began. "It was certainly an opportunity we had to give a chance.

"But, it's always very good to have an underlying good feeling about something. "Part of it is a bit of intuition, and the other thing is just practical facts.

"We started off very well, but then some things we didn't feel good about. So, in the end, it was a great experience, but in order to sign a 10-year agreement, which we were talking about, it needs to be sound and a good feeling from both sides."

READ MORE: Verstappen makes surprising retirement admission with Red Bull future uncertain

No to Maranello

Bearman is in Ferrari's academy

A turn of events saw a key figure in Ferrari's junior programme, Marco Matassa, leaving the team shortly after Lammers' son won the Scouting Camp.

Lammers noted, "Whether that was his decision or whatever, those details, we don't know. The personal contact we had there was great.

"Then, from a professional and a future level, we had a few questions that we were worried about."

This uncertainty played a part in their decision-making process, leading them to value their freedom to explore other opportunities and remain unaffiliated from any F1 team.

READ MORE: Japanese Grand Prix sees Mercedes debut new livery

Lammers' 2024 plans

Leclerc is a Ferrari graduate

The younger Lammers is currently ramping up for a Spanish F4 season with MP Motorsport.

"In the end, we were happy that we have our freedom now. MP is a great station because we can go all the way to Formula 2."

"The results have to be there... Everybody's always laughing in the wedding picture!

"I'm confident that that will stay for the future. Let's see how this develops... if we can live up to the potential and the promise that Rene has been displaying.

"And if MP can continue doing a good job, which they are."

READ MORE: Red Bull boss issues WARNING after claiming rivals are ahead in Japan

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