It’s Official: F1 Driver Lewis Hamiliton to Leave Mercedes for Ferrari

Amin Jamali/Getty Images

Seven-time Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton is set to move from Mercedes to Ferrari, according to an Instagram post from Scuderia Ferrari.

“Scuderia Ferrari is pleased to announce that Lewis Hamilton will be joining the team in 2025, on a multi-year contract,” the post said.

Mercedes also released a statement announcing the news. “Lewis has activated a release option in the contract announced last August and this season therefore will be his last driving for the Silver Arrows. The news brings to an end what is currently a 17-year relationship in F1 with Mercedes-Benz, and an 11-year partnership with the works team.”

Said Hamilton: “I have had an amazing 11 years with this team and I am so proud of what we accomplished together. Mercedes has been a 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 am excited to be taking on a new challenge.”

Hamilton, 39, was expected to finish out his career with Mercedes, the team with which he won six of his seven world championships. Mercedes struggled during 2023, leaving Hamilton winless.

Of course, with the outstanding season Max Verstappen had driving for Red Bull Racing Honda, most drivers were winless. Verstappen and his Red Bull teammate, Sergio Perez, would have swept the season were it not for Carlos Sainz’s September win at Singapore for Ferrari. Media reports say Sainz is the driver that Hamilton would replace. Where this leaves Sainz is unclear; he could possibly replace Hamilton at Mercedes. His Ferrari co-driver Charles Leclerc signed a new contract two weeks ago, but there was no mention then of Sainz. Speculation was that Alex Albon of Williams could replace Sainz, but that was before the Hamilton news was made public.

F1 Grand Prix of Brazil hamilton leclerc sainz
Clive Mason/Getty Images

Ferrari has long courted the services of Hamilton, making him a $50 million offer last year. But Hamilton decided to stick with Mercedes. His current contract includes the 2025 season, but obviously there was some sort of escape clause built in, likely reflecting Mercedes’ competitiveness, or lack of it.

Autosport quoted Hamilton early last season as saying about Mercedes: “I think for this year [2023] they thought the fundamentals were good and we just have to go here and it’s not the case. That’s why I was frustrated in February, because they hadn’t made the changes I’d asked (for).”

Apparently, Hamilton is convinced that as he enters the late stage of his career he has a better chance at a return to glory with Ferrari than Mercedes.

In recent years, the outspoken Hamilton has branched out into other ventures. In October of 2022, he founded Dawn Apollo Films, a production company. Its upcoming projects include an untitled motorsport drama starring Brad Pitt and directed by Joseph Kosinski, which spent the last two weeks filming at the Daytona International Speedway and the surrounding area.

F1 Grand Prix of Malaysia - Race
Paul Gilham/Getty Images

 

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Comments

    I’ve been thinking about this Hamilton going to Ferrari deal after next season. My guess is one of two reasons.

    1. He has driven the new F1 Mercedes and found it a good ride, so he is honouring one year of his contract in an attempt to win his 8th Championship with this new Mercedes. If he does, it will be really good for both him, the Team and Mercedes. Then he’ll be emotionally free go where his heart leads him.

    Or 2. He has driven Mercedes’ new F1 car and found it still wanting. But loyalty will keep him with the team for one of the two years of his contract to try and help fix it, hoping to get it to a competitive state by year’s end. Then he will be free to go to where his heart leads him.

    He has always expressed an interest in driving for Ferrari and they with having him join them.

    Bahrain will reveal perhaps which of the above roads above he’ll be racing down in 2024.

    Either way, finishing his storied career with a few more F1 Championships in a red uniform would really be the stuff of legends.

    Enzo would be thrilled.

    Not completely unexpected but still shocking to see happen. Curious to see how many more championships he can get in whatever he has left in his career.

    I am so happy to see him gone from Mercedes. It got to the point where the Mercedes Service Department has to have a picture of him on the wall.

    My amateur analysis: Ferrari recognize they have no hope of overcoming Red Bull’s RB-20 (and anticipated RB-21 in 2025), and will therefore invest minimal resources into their cars over the next two seasons. Instead, everything will be put into the 2026 car when everyone will be starting from equal footing (well, except for the fact that RB will still have Newey). I don’t think Mercedes can afford to just bin the next two years and Hamilton – being made aware of each team’s goals – chose the path most likely to bring him that 8th championship….which I hope he gets. Say what you want about Hamilton personally, what happened to him in 2021 was a travesty no person should have to endure.

    Interesting, Just don’t be sure that Lewis is too old. Juan Fangio won five world championships in his 40s. Of course the cars were much simpler and slower back then. But then Hamilton is in far better physical shape than Fangio ever was. Still, modern F1 cars can change down force by almost 200% through the course of a lap. But if Hamilton thinks as a driver he can have more influence over the design of the cars at Ferrari, all I can say is he’s lucky the old man is not still alive.

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