In a surprising twist, Lewis Hamilton has made the decision to leave Mercedes and join Ferrari for the upcoming Formula One season.
Last summer, Hamilton signed a two-year contract extension with Mercedes that was supposed to cover the 2024 and 2025 seasons. However, he has now chosen to end his partnership with the team after just one year of that deal. This move will see him joining Charles Leclerc at Ferrari next year.
This unexpected transfer also means that Carlos Sainz, who currently partners with Leclerc at Ferrari, will be looking for a new team in 2025 as his contract expires. Interestingly enough, Leclerc had recently committed himself to a long-term agreement with Maranello.
Hamilton’s departure from Mercedes marks an end to what would have been a remarkable twelve-year stint with the dominant team. He initially joined Mercedes in 2013 after leaving McLaren, where he debuted in Formula One back in 2007 and won his first world title the following year.
The move from McLaren to Mercedes proved immensely successful for Hamilton and the team. They became the powerhouse of Formula One during the turbo hybrid era starting in 2014. Over seven years, Hamilton secured six additional world titles out of which he lost only one to his former teammate Nico Rosberg in 2016.
During his time at Mercedes, Hamilton achieved incredible milestones by capturing eighty-two of his total one hundred and three wins and seventy-eight out of his one hundred four pole positions for this exceptional squad – cementing his status as the most successful driver in Formula One history.
However, Hamilton’s reign came to an end this past season when Max Verstappen controversially claimed the 2021 championship. Since the introduction of new regulations in 2022, Mercedes has struggled to maintain their dominance, leading to a winless streak for Hamilton.
Now at thirty-nine years old, Hamilton has made a late career move and opted for a change of scenery by joining Ferrari. This decision also reunites him with team principal Fed Vasseur, who previously served as Hamilton’s boss during their time together at ART in GP2.
Ferrari had already secured Leclerc’s services for the foreseeable future and contract negotiations with Sainz were not progressing as quickly. Therefore, Hamilton’s availability emerged as a significant factor behind this surprising transfer.
Sainz will now bring an end to his four-year tenure at Maranello after achieving his first two Grand Prix victories with Ferrari. The twenty-nine-year-old Spaniard also clinched five pole positions and sixteen podium finishes during his time with McLaren, Renault, Toro Rosso before joining Ferrari.
Hamilton’s departure from Mercedes leaves a void in their driver line-up alongside George Russell for the 2025 season. With other talented drivers like Leclerc off-limits due to long-term commitments with their respective teams such as McLaren’s Lando Norris or Williams’ Alex Albon and Alpine’s Esteban Ocon might be among potential options that Mercedes could consider over the upcoming weeks and months.