Helmet of Rallye Monte-Carlo winner to be auctioned for Antoine Alléno Association

The helmet worn by Thierry Neuville during his second successful Rallye Monte-Carlo drive is to be auctioned over the weekend by Bonhams Automobilia. The money raised will be donated to the Association Antoine Alléno, a foundation set up by multi-Michelin star chef Yannick Alléno and his wife in memory of their 24-year-old son, who was tragically killed in 2022. 

In the days after his win, the Belgian driver made the announcement via social media that he would be donating his helmet to this worthy cause and directed fans to Bonhams Automobilia, who will be managing the online event. 

Bids on the custom-made piece, which was designed by artist Frédéric Platéus, will be accepted until midday on Monday 5th February on Bonhams official site, www.bonhams.com. The helmet can also be viewed in person on Sunday 4th February between 11am and 2pm at the Bonhams UK auction house in Guildford. James Garguilo, who is coordinating the sale, can be reached here.   

The Association Antoine Alléno was formed after a hit-and-run drunk driver took the life of the 24-year-old son of Pavyllon Monte-Carlo’s Yannick Alléno and his wife, Isabelle Mescam-Alléno, in May 2022. The charity is dedicated to supporting, in any way necessary, parents and families who have lost a child.  

By lunchtime on Friday 2nd February, the auction price had already reached €14,000 of a predicted €15,000. 


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Photo via Bonhams

France streamlines cumbersome RSA benefits system 

The uptake of RSA – the Active Solidarity Income social welfare benefit that provides a “minimum level of income for people without resources that varies according to the composition of the household” – and the activity bonus or prime d’activité is colossally low in France, with as many as 34% of those eligible for support believed to be missing out.  

That could be about to change, however, following an announcement that accessing these social benefits is to become significantly easier under a new and streamlined system.  

Cumbersome, complicated and confusing 

The French government has announced that the social net amount that applicants are required to declare to officials in order to receive RSA or the activity bonus will, from now on, appear on all employee pay slips.  

This avoids the complicated calculations applicants have previously been required to work out for themselves on the forms, which are similarly derided as “cumbersome and confusing”.  

Recipients can expect even more simplification to the process to come in 2025, when the government says it will be rolling out pre-filled out resource declarations that will automatically collect the funds from employers and designated agencies.  

For more information, click here

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Photo source: Towfiqu Barbhuiya, Unsplash  

F1: Lewis Hamilton will join Charles Leclerc at Ferrari in 2025

In what has been described as “the biggest news story F1 has seen for more than a decade”, Lewis Hamilton is to depart Mercedes at the end of the 2024 season and join Monegasque driver Charles Leclerc at Scuderia Ferrari.  

After rumours began appearing in the press on the morning of 1st February, an official announcement was made by Ferrari in the afternoon that confirmed the move.  

“Scuderia Ferrari is pleased to announce that Lewis Hamilton will be joining the team in 2025, on a multi-year contract,” was all that was initially revealed, but the British seven-time World Champion has since made his own statement.  

“I have had an amazing 11 years with this team [Mercedes] and I’m so proud of what we have achieved together,” said Hamilton. “Mercedes has been part of my life since I was 13-years-old. It’s a place where I have grown up, so making the decision to leave was one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make… But the time is right for me to take this step and I’m excited to be taking on a new challenge.” 

Hamilton joined Mercedes from McLaren, where he began his F1 career, back in 2013. He went on to win six – nearly seven, which would have been a record – Drivers’ World Championship titles over the course of 11 seasons with the team, adding to one already obtained at McLaren, as well as 82 race wins in Mercedes’ colours. 

But the shared success of Hamilton and Mercedes has waned somewhat in recent years; for the first time in his entire career, Hamilton didn’t win a single race in either the 2022 or 2023 race seasons.  

How it happened 

Ferrari and its chairman, John Elkann, have reportedly spent years trying to lure Hamilton away from Mercedes.  

According to F1 correspondent Lawrence Barretto, “Last spring, sources say Lewis Hamilton received a call. It was Elkann. This wasn’t completely out of the blue. Ferrari had come calling before – and Hamilton knew Elkann well… During the call, it is believed Elkann made another play for F1’s most famous driver.” 

Hamilton resigned with Mercedes on a contract that would last until the end of 2025 last summer, but “as with many contracts, there were ways of extricating either side from the deal”. 

He is believed to have activated a “release option” in his contract and informed Mercedes bosses of his decision just hours before Ferrari made their own announcement.  

A Leclerc-Hamilton pairing 

The move means that Hamilton will be on a team with 26-year-old Monegasque Charles Leclerc, who recently signed his own multi-year deal with Ferrari.  

See more: F1: Monegasque driver Charles Leclerc and Ferrari announce new deal beyond 2024

While Leclerc is yet to make a public statement about Hamilton’s move to Ferrari, he made clear his respect and admiration for the seven-time World Champion when asked about the prospect of the British driver joining the team last year. 

“If I say yes [I would like to be his team mate], I imagine it being the title of every newspaper,” he said. “I mean Lewis is such an incredible driver and he has achieved so much in the sport. I think anybody on the grid would love to have Lewis as a team mate, as everybody will learn a lot from him.” 

Hamilton’s move to the Italian manufacturer means that Carlos Sainz, who has been at Ferrari since 2021, has been ousted from his seat. In the aftermath of Hamilton’s shock switch, Sainz posted on social media, saying, “Following today’s news, Scuderia Ferrari and myself will part ways at the end of 2024. We still have a long season ahead of us and, like always, I will give my absolute best for the team and for the Tifosi all around the world. News about my future will be announced in due course.”  

“One final roll of the dice” 

At 39 years of age, many had expected Hamilton to end his career in the comfort of a Mercedes, but the British driving legend clearly believes he still has more to give the sport.  

As Barretto puts it, Hamilton has “one final roll of the dice”.  

“Achieve a world championship with Ferrari – giving them their first title in nearly two decades in the process,” he writes, “and his legend will be cemented as the greatest of all time.” 

Related article:

Interview with Charles Leclerc: “We’re just at the start of the season, there is still everything to play for”

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Photo source: Lewis Hamilton, Facebook