Lewis Hamilton, the seven-time world champion and Formula One’s most accomplished driver, is set to join Ferrari from the year 2025. The surprising announcement was officially confirmed by Mercedes, revealing that the 39-year-old British driver had utilized a release option in his contract, initially signed to extend his stay with the Silver Arrows in August. Mercedes added that Hamilton will join Ferrari next season “on a multi-year contract” but did not reveal further details. That will see Hamilton pair up with Charles Leclerc, who signed a new deal only last week to remain at the Italian outfit for “several more seasons.” Carlos Sainz, whose Mercedes contract expires after this year, will make way.
The move is a major shock that will have major implications for the sport. It comes just one year before the new ground effect regulations take hold, potentially creating another huge shake-up in the competitive order. It also means Hamilton is taking a risk with his career by leaving the team that brought him to prominence in F1 and that he believed could help him achieve his goal of winning an eighth title.
Hamilton has long been linked with a move to Ferrari and had spoken openly about the appeal of racing for the scarlet-liveried squad at the top of the sport. It is a place he feels he “should be at” and that he was “very unlucky not to be an eight-time world champion,” he told Sky Sports television last year.
In a career that has seen him defy convention and captivate fans with his brilliant racing skills, it is the latest chapter in a remarkable story. But it will not be without its challenges for a man who has made no secret of the difficulty of overcoming the mental barrier of racing for Ferrari and that of chasing a record-equalling eighth drivers’ championship.
The signing of the sport’s biggest name represents a significant step up for Ferrari, who were left to rue what might have been after they lost out to Max Verstappen at the top of the standings in 2021 and then fell behind Red Bull in the race for the title last year. It is a gamble that the Italian team hope pays off, with Hamilton joining in time to reap the rewards of what would be a remarkable turnaround in fortunes for Ferrari. It will be a considerable task to close the gap on Mercedes under new technical rules in the coming years. But if anyone can do it, it might just be the most successful driver in the history of F1.