Lewis Hamilton will make the big move to Ferrari for the 2025 Formula One season, the Italian team announced Thursday. Hamilton will be there for several years.
Hamilton has won a record 103 races and is a seven-time world champion. He will drive for Mercedes this season and then take over for Carlos Sainz the following year.
Last year, Hamilton, 39, signed a new two-year deal with Mercedes. However, he used a release option that let him leave the team after just one season.
He said that quitting Mercedes “was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.”
This was the right time for him to do it, and he was excited to start a new adventure. I will always be thankful for how much my Mercedes family has helped me, especially Toto [Wolff], who is the team director and a great friend and wants us all to end on a high note.
“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.”
Since Kimi Raikkonen’s win in 2007, Ferrari has not had a driver’s championship. They are the most successful F1 team and the only one that has participated in every world championship season.
Hamilton has seven F1 titles, tied with Michael Schumacher. He now has a chance to break Ferrari’s winning streak and become F1’s most decorated winner.
It would be the first time since 1957 that a driver won a title with three different teams if he did it.
Throughout his career, there have been many rumors that Hamilton would be joining Ferrari. ESPN reports that Mercedes was stunned by Thursday’s news, as they had not yet named a driver to replace him.
Hamilton swapped teams Thursday morning, according to ESPN. Ferrari boss John Elkann wanted to add a famous driver to partner Charles Leclerc going forward. Elkann has been a fan of Hamilton’s for a long time.
Leclerc just signed a new deal that keeps him with the team until at least 2026. Elkann’s goals now explain why Ferrari had been putting off doing the same thing with Sainz.
Leclerc has been with Ferrari since before he joined F1, but despite being the fastest qualifier, his public blunders cast doubt on his title chances.
Before last year’s Monaco Grand Prix, both Hamilton and Ferrari team boss Fred Vasseur laughed off rumors that the British driver was about to sign with the team. However, sources say Elkann kept trying to get Hamilton to sign with them even after he agreed to a new deal with Mercedes, and that talks got tougher at the end of the year and beginning of January.
Hamilton won the GP2 (now Formula Two) title in 2006 with the ART team, and Vasseur worked with him. The two have stayed friendly since then.
Before the shocking news on Thursday, Hamilton seemed content to finish his career with Mercedes. One of the better driver decisions in recent years was joining the team in 2013.
Between 2014 and 2021, Mercedes won the constructors championship eight times in a row, which was the most powerful period in F1 history. Hamilton won six of his seven world titles with that team.
On the last run of the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Hamilton was controversially denied his eighth driver’s title. In 2022 and 2023, he didn’t win a single race.
He said last year that Mercedes needed the best six months of development in F1 history just to catch Red Bull, which was the leader at the time.
Mercedes seemed ready to go into the future with its core team still together. Team boss Toto Wolff just signed a new three-year deal, and Hamilton’s partner George Russell has a deal that runs until the end of 2025.
Which player will take Hamilton’s place will now be a big topic of conversation for the rest of the season.
“We knew our partnership would come to a natural end at some point, and that day has now come,” said Wolff. “We accept Lewis’s decision to seek a fresh challenge, and our opportunities for the future are exciting to contemplate.”
Alex Albon, a driver for Williams who had a great year in 2023 and is friends with Russell, seems like a strong option.
People think Sainz will sign with Audi’s new F1 project in 2026 more likely, but Mercedes may be open to him now as they look to fill the spot.
“Because of the news today, Scuderia Ferrari and I will no longer work together after the end of 2024,” Sainz said in a message on X.
“The season is still young, and I will do everything I can for the team and all Tifosi around the world, as I always do.”
“News about my future will be announced in due course.”
Daniel Ricciardo, who will run for the new Red Bull junior squad Visa Cash App RB, is also expected. However, he has made it clear that he wants to replace Sergio Perez at Red Bull in 2025.
The success of Mercedes’s young star junior driver Andrea Kimi Antonelli, who will race in Formula Two this season, will now get more attention. The Italian youngster chose to work with Mercedes over Ferrari as a development driver. He is a future star, but a 2025 promotion may be too soon.