Lewis Hamilton will join Ferrari next year and replace Carlos Sainz in a shock move; Hamilton has signed a two-year contract with Mercedes that expires at the end of 2025, but he will only spend one more season with the team; Every F1 race in 2024 can be watched live on Sky Sports F1
By Nigel Chiu and Craig Slater
0:18, UK, Friday 02 February 2024
Lewis Hamilton will leave Mercedes to join Ferrari for the 2025 Formula 1 season.
Hamilton's current contract with Mercedes expires at the end of 2025, but he will leave the team after this season to be replaced by Carlos Sainz at Ferrari.
The British driver activated a release clause in his Mercedes contract and the seven-time world champion confirmed that Ferrari was joining them on a “multi-year” deal on Thursday evening.
The news was shared with Mercedes staff at Brackley on Thursday afternoon ahead of the team's official announcement.
Charles Leclerc signed a new contract with Ferrari last week and will be Hamilton's teammate at Ferrari from next year.
The seven-time world champion is the most successful driver in F1 history with 103 wins and 104 pole positions. Michael Schumacher is the only driver to win seven world titles.
Hamilton, who has not won a race since December 2021, joined Mercedes from McLaren in 2013 and has won six world titles with the team.
He was linked with Ferrari for this year, but last summer signed a new two-year contract to stay with Mercedes team-mate Jorge Russell until the end of 2025.
The new 2024 F1 season kicks off with the Bahrain Grand Prix from February 29 to March 2 – live Sky Sports F1.
Hamilton's shock move to Ferrari at a glance
- Lewis Hamilton will leave Mercedes at the end of the 2024 season and join Ferrari for the 2025 campaign
- Hamilton will replace Carlos Sainz as Charles Leclerc's teammate
- Hamilton signed a “multi-year” deal
- Hamilton and Sainz will race for Mercedes and Ferrari respectively this coming 2024 season.
One of F1's biggest moves
Sky Sports News' Craig Slater:
“It's very difficult to end a sporting career. Lionel Messi may have topped the World Cup, but how hard is it to leave the podium when you've had this glittering career at its peak?
“What does Lewis Hamilton do to top this masterpiece? Of course a couple of years in red, can he follow in Michael Schumacher's footsteps and win an eighth world title? Schumacher has won five of his seven with Ferrari – that would really top it off.”
“Hamilton is now 39. This could be his last chance to drive for Ferrari. He has previously spoken of his delight at ending his career at Mercedes.
“He says his idol, Ayrton Senna, never drove for a Ferrari, so you can have an iconic career without driving for them.
“Is it a gamble in pure racing terms? He's been winless for two years and has seen Red Bull wipe out everything before them.
“In 2025, he will be at Ferrari, who have been bumping into Mercedes in this earlier period – but a good distance behind Red Bull.”
Hamilton's past links to Ferrari
Hamilton has been linked with Ferrari several times since starting his F1 career with McLaren in 2007.
He won his first world championship with McLaren in 2008, but joined Mercedes at the end of 2012, where he formed the most successful team-driver partnership in F1 history with 82 wins.
However, since the controversial 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Hamilton has rarely battled at the front of the pack as Mercedes has fallen behind as Red Bull came over new 2022 regulations.
He won for the first time in 2022 and failed to take pole position, and continued his winless streak in 2023.
The 39-year-old held talks with Ferrari last year, after previous links when he was at Mercedes, but the Italian team never offered him a contract, team boss Frédéric Vasseur said.
Hamilton said ESPN In May 2023: “I'd be lying if I said I didn't think about finishing my career anywhere else. I started at McLaren and I'd like to think I'll always be part of the McLaren family. I started when I was 13 years old, and what would it be like to be at McLaren one day? thought
“I saw the Ferrari drivers on the screen on the track and you wonder what it would be like to be in red. I am happy where I am. I haven't signed the contract yet, but we are signing the contract.”
Leclerc has been at Ferrari since 2019 and Hamilton will be his third team-mate at the Scuderia, partnering Sebastian Vettel for two seasons and for Sainz from 2021.
Asked last year if he would welcome Hamilton as a teammate, he said: “If I say yes, I imagine every newspaper headline. But Lewis is an incredible driver who has achieved so much in the sport.
“So, I think anybody on the grid would love to have Lewis as a teammate, everybody would learn a lot from him. But yeah, again, I'm happy where I'm at. It's a great relationship with Carlos, too.”
Hamilton's reaction to shock action
Who will replace Hamilton?
Hamilton's surprise announcement leaves Mercedes in a tricky position as they lose one of the greatest drivers of all time.
Sainz, who was a non-Red Bull race winner last year, also lost and is now without a run in 2025.
“What I think is worth mentioning here is that it explains why McLaren signed Lando Norris on a long-term contract two weeks ago and why Ferrari signed Leclerc as well,” added Slater.
“When Ferrari found out they were getting Hamilton – this romance has been going on for months, it's not a new thing. .
“It's hard to see who Mercedes is promoting – probably good news for George Russell, who could be the team's No.1.
“Frederic Westi is their junior driver, he's not ready for Formula 1. They've got Mick Schumacher as reserve driver, who hasn't had a great start to his F1 career – maybe he's a stop-gap? Alex Alban, for me, could be a heavyweight signing to replace Hamilton.”
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