This might sound insane, but if Hamilton were to leave McLaren, I think there is a reasonable chance he could wind up at Williams.
When Williams were chasing after Kimi Raikkonen, they demonstrated that they were looking for a big-name driver. When Raikkonen went to Lotus, they had to settle for Senna. But I think Hamilton could be a good fit for them, because Maldonado and Senna are wasting the potential of the FW34, and Hamilton has that rare ability to drive a car beyond the limits other drivers find. If Williams can keep up the development of the FW34 into the FW35, then I think it would certainly be a car Hamilton would be capable of winning in.
The big issue is money, of course. It is believed that Williams want to put Valterri Bottas into the car, and if they were to keep him, that means Pastor Maldonado would have to move over to make way for Hamilton. And with it, a $40 million revenue stream dries up (though there is talk that the contract between Williams and PDVSA only states that Williams have to “consider” Venezuelan drivers; they don’t actually have to sign one up if they don’t think that driver fits the team – that said, if Maldonado got a drive elsewhere, the money would probably go with him).
But I think Williams could overcome that if they pitched it right. If they offered Hamilton the chance to build the team around him, and then announced to the world that they wanted Lewis Hamilton to be the man who restored the team to their former glory, then I don’t think they’d have much trouble securing sponsorship.
The big deciding factor in all of this, though, would be whether or not Hamilton is willing to take a chance if he leaves McLaren. Despite the endless speculation, I just can’t see him at Red Bull, and outside McLaren, there is no real home for him – unless he thinks a team might be a diamond in the rough.
The Italian F1 press generally has quite the influence on Ferrari. Ferrari take their criticism to heart, especially when they are underperforming.
I think Ferrari are savvy enough to know when they’re in trouble. If they need the press to tell them that they’re doing a bad job, then I’d say that they’ve got bigger problems than a bad season. So if they’re listening to what the press says, then they’re only being told what they already know. They’re not going to defer judgement on what is in the best interests of the team based on such a transient entity as the media.