In what can only be described as one of the most sensational transfers in Formula 1 history, Mercedes have confirmed that driver Lewis Hamilton will make a dramatic switch to Ferrari in ahead of the 2025 season, after intense speculation regarding the future of the seven-time F1 world champion.
Hamilton, 39, had been in talks with Ferrari, and after negotiations were completed the Brit informed Mercedes of his intention to swap Brackley for Maranello. The switch could mark a poetic conclusion to an illustrious Formula 1 career that has seen Hamilton dominate the sport with Mercedes.
Despite two challenging seasons where Mercedes struggled to compete with Red Bull‘s pace, Ferrari convinced Hamilton that his best chance of further success lies with them.
“The Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team and Lewis Hamilton will part ways at the end of the 2024 season,” Mercedes said in a statement. “Lewis has activated a release option in the contract announced last August and this season will therefore be his last driving for the Silver Arrows.
“The news brings an end to what is currently a 17-year long relationship in F1 with Mercedes-Benz and an 11-year long partnership with the works team.”
In his first comments on the situation, Hamilton admitted that the decision to leave Mercedes after 11 years with the team was one of the hardest of his career.
“I have had an amazing 11 years with this team and I’m so proud of what we have achieved together,” Hamilton said. “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.
“I will be forever grateful for the incredible support of my Mercedes family, especially Toto for his friendship and leadership and I want to finish on a high together. I am 100% committed to delivering the best performance I can this season and making my last year with the Silver Arrows, one to remember.”
Hamilton, who has not won a race in the last two F1 seasons, finished third in the Drivers’ Championship in 2023 after achieving six podium finishes. This period of relative drought stands in stark contrast to his glory days at Mercedes, where he clinched the world title in 2014, 2015, and then four consecutive seasons from 2017 to 2020.
Rumors of Hamilton‘s move to Ferrari are not new. Less than a year ago, Hamilton had denied negotiations with the Italian team over a significant £40 million deal. Instead, he signed a multi-year £100 million contract to stay with Mercedes for the 2024 and 2025 F1 seasons.
Ferrari upon confirming the move, released a short statement which read: “Scuderia Ferrari is pleased to announce that Lewis Hamilton will be joining the team in 2025, on a multi-year contract.”
However, it has emerged that an ‘escape clause’ was included in that new contract, facilitating his potential move to Ferrari for the 2025 season, setting the stage for a renewed battle against Red Bull at the front of the grid.
Ferrari had previously offered Hamilton a chance to win his dream eighth world championship with them. Now, with the move official Hamilton has the opportunity to surpass the record of Michael Schumacher, a Ferrari legend, who won five of his seven titles with the team.
Hamilton fulfilling a dream
Hamilton‘s affinity for Ferrari is no secret, with his family, particularly his father Anthony Hamilton, having expressed a longstanding desire to see Lewis drive in the iconic red. This ambition, coupled with Hamilton‘s admiration for Ayrton Senna – who had plans to drive for Ferrari before his untimely death – has fueled speculation about Hamilton‘s move.
Despite extending his contract with Mercedes, Hamilton has once again been drawn to Ferrari, fulfilling a childhood dream to drive in red and leave behind a career which has been closely associated with Mercedes since 2007.
His close relationships with Ferrari team principal Fred Vasseur, who he knows from junior formulas, and John Elkann, Ferrari‘s president, have played a significant role in reigniting discussions about his move.
With the deal now officially ratified, Ferrari is pushing forward with what is being termed as the signing of the decade. This decision has significant implications for Carlos Sainz, whose contract negotiations with Ferrari were put on hold, with his current deal set to expire at the end of the 2024 season.
Given Charles Leclerc is positioned as Ferrari’s long-term future, Sainz has found himself looking for new opportunities, with Sauber – soon to be Audi – emerging as a possible destination for the Spaniard.
Hamilton‘s move to Ferrari promises to reshape the dynamics of the sport, offering a fresh challenge to the dominant forces of Red Bull and adding another thrilling chapter to Hamilton‘s storied career.