The secrets of Lewis Hamilton’s new home: Why Maranello – Ferrari’s polished paradise – is the perfect destination for the Formula One star

Mobile phones are pressed close to the window as the bus pulls into Maranello.

The red-clad tourists spill out onto immaculately-cut lawn beneath the Ferrari factory, searching for the perfect position to take their shot. By the end of the day their camera albums will be brimming with snaps of their trip to the Mecca of motor racing.

Some among them may even be quietly hoping for a snap of the man joining the Scuderia from 2025.

‘Yes I am very happy Lewis is coming to Ferrari,’ one fan tells Mail Sport. ‘I think he can deliver a world title for the Scuderia. He is still the best.’

But any hope of sighting seven-time world champion Hamilton is fanciful. The full focus here is on the 2024 season, where there is genuine optimism that the brand new SF-24 can pose a challenge to the Red Bull juggernaut.

Lewis Hamilton will head to northern Italy for the 2025 Formula One season

Mail Sport visited Maranello, the home of Ferrari, ahead of Hamilton’s move

EXCLUSIVEREAD MORE: Inside Michael Schumacher’s favourite restaurant… where the pasta is so good even super-healthy Cristiano Ronaldo and Erling Haaland can’t resist!

As the tourists explore this Ferrari paradise, Charles Leclerc, Hamilton’s new teammate, is sat in the exclusive Ristorante Cavallino, located just across the road from the factory.

The 26-year-old is in town for the launch of the team’s partnership with Italian beer giant Peroni. On the agenda is a meet-and-greet with a congregation of 20 journalists who have travelled from the likes of Australia, Sweden and Canada to see him at this rustic farmhouse. Originally bought by company founder Enzo Ferrari to house the canteen, it now hosts guests willing to shell out for the finest cuisine Italy has to offer.

Pork topped with foie gras plus tortellini are on the menu today – the pasta contained in a gold box, its treasure presented underneath a pastry lid. Vegan alternatives are available for the fastidious Hamilton.

Waiters enter the room in military unison, carefully placing the afternoon’s meals before the guests, who are all wondering the same thing: how will Leclerc’s relationship with Hamilton play out? After all, the poster boy of the Tifosi has long been earmarked as the man to end Ferrari’s desperate world championship drought, but will have to accommodate for the more established Hamilton, 13 years his senior.

Hamilton’s new Ferrari teammate, Charles Leclerc, is well accustomed to these surroundings

The Monegasque was at Ristorante Cavallino to promote Ferrari’s partnership with Peroni

Still, Leclerc is better placed than most to show Hamilton around this small town in northern Italy.

‘For sure, I spend a lot of time here,’ says the man who has called this place his racing home since 2016.

‘We travel a lot but between races we always come here, to the simulator especially, doing some virtual laps to train and get ready for races and the season.’

The understated Leclerc, by now well-used to the corporate schmoozing that his job entails, lights up when asked about his ambitions for the 2024 season.

‘I’m just super excited because there’s so much work going on at the moment,’ he says. ‘I saw the car for the first time yesterday. I’m really looking forward to the new season.’

Leclerc gave the SF-24 its first run at the Fiorano test track this week. The circuit, which opened in 1972, was specifically designed by Ferrari to push his cars and its drivers to the limit.

Leclerc is in Maranello to prepare for the new season. On Wednesday, the 26-year-old drove the new SF-24 car on the renouned Firano Circuit

Enzo Ferrari (right), founder of the supercar behemoth, said the track is the ultimate test for all of his cars

‘I don’t want any Ferrari to tackle the track or address mass-production without passing the Fiorano test with flying colours,’ the racing pioneer once declared.

Yet the Ferrari suitability test is not decided solely behind the wheel of his supercars. The Italian magnate, who strove to blend racing with glamour at the firm he grew from its inception in 1939 until his death in 1988, believed that ‘a star can be someone with a special style or perhaps a man who is extremely bold.’

Boasting endorsement deals worth millions with the likes of Tommy Hilfiger, IWC and Puma, the fashionable Hamilton should fit in just fine in Maranello.

He won’t be short of Italian finery to add to his ever-growing wardrobe, either.

Just across the road from Cavallino sits Ferrari’s designer store. Buyers searching for price tags will have no luck and are instead encouraged to ‘enquire with a sales assistant’ over potential purchases.

A Ferrari-branded cap is priced at (£190) €220, while Leclerc’s favourite item – a clutch bag modelled on the Ferrari Daytona SP3  – will set you back a cool £60,000 (€70,000).

The most expensive item – the Testarossa J – isn’t even road legal. Yet an exclusive club of around 200 people have shelled out £116,000 (€136,000) each to own one of these electric vehicles capable of hitting top speeds of 80km/h.

‘I love fashion, especially coming to the track on Thursdays and seeing drivers being brave with the outfits they wear,’ Leclerc says, back in the restaurant. ‘I have always loved fashion, I see it as a way of expressing yourself without thinking.’

A luxurious designer store is situated across the road from Ristorante Cavallino

Leclerc’s favourite item, a clutch bag (left) is valued at £60,000. The most expensive item is the Testarossa J, valued at £116,000. It is not road legal

Hamilton will not be short of inspiration when he visits the Ferrari Museum

A short walk from the designer store, the Ferrari museum should provide Hamilton with ample motivation to chase down world championship number eight.

This is the home of all things Scuderia, with vintage racing cars worth up to £26m (€30m) on display. So too is Leclerc’s favourite car, the 275 GTB.

The piece de resistance of this Ferrari playground, though, is the Scuderia trophy room. Among the glistening silverware stands a dedicated wall of fame, where the team’s nine world champions are celebrated.

Mike Hawthorn and John Surtees, the only two British drivers to win the title here, are proudly shown off besides Michael Schumacher, Niki Lauda and Kimi Raikkonen.

Ferrari once demanded: ‘We need winners. We don’t need those who finish second or third.’

Hamilton, then, would surely be given the Ferrari seal of approval.

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