In what will surely go down as the move of the decade, seven-time Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton has reportedly agreed to make a shock switch from Mercedes-AMG Petronas to Scuderia Ferrari for the 2025 season. The news has been picked up by several credible outlets, including Autosport and Sky Sports.
The Briton, who will turn 40 next year, is set to partner star driver Charles Leclerc, who himself just agreed to a multi-year deal with Maranello last week. He will replace Carlos Sainz Jr, who looks more and more likely to make the much-anticipated move to Stake F1 Team (née Sauber) – ahead of it becoming the Audi works team at the start of new regulations coming in 2026.
Hamilton is still contracted to Mercedes until the end of 2025, but it appears that the second year of the deal he signed last year was simply an option for him to take up.
As yet, it’s unclear if Hamilton has actually signed the undoubtedly lucrative contract, with reporting ranging from advanced talks set to conclude by the end of the week to it being a done deal, only awaiting an official announcement later today. For their part, Mercedes and Ferrari have declined to comment on these rumours, but as they say, there’s no smoke without fire…
The news first originated by Italian and Spanish media earlier today, BBC Sport wrote, adding that it has since verified the move as being a “serious possibility.” It also stated that, according to sources, Mercedes will hold a team meeting at 2:00 pm GMT (10:00 pm local time) with boss Toto Wolff and technical director James Allison, likely to announce that Hamilton is leaving.
Hamilton enjoyed an unprecedented period of dominance with Mercedes during the sport’s turbo hybrid era, claiming six of his seven championships and eight constructors’ titles with the team. But Brackley dropped the ball with the current ground effect rules cycle and has won just one race (Brazil 2022) in the past two years, with Hamilton not winning since his riveting – and highly contentious – 2021 title fight with Max Verstappen.
Despite his seemingly unshakable loyalty to Mercedes, Hamilton has long been linked to a move to the Cavallino Rampante, even though both sides have played down those rumours. On the surface, there’s very little upside to joining Ferrari, which fumbled its own title challenge in 2022 and narrowly lost second to Mercedes last year.
But the team mounted a late surge in 2023 that included the only non-Red Bull win in Singapore – ironically with Sainz at the helm – hinting that it might be on the cusp of turning the corner. Plus, the allure of driving for the team in red (and ending a title drought that stretches to 2008) must never be underestimated, even for the most successful driver in F1 history.
It’s odd that a team would make a driver announcement this early in the preceding year, but it’s not unprecedented. You only have to look back to 2020, when it was confirmed Sebastian Vettel was getting kicked out of the Scuderia in 2021 – all while the sport (and the world) was still in the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic.
One thing’s for sure – as a lifelong Ferrari fan, I need a lie down…
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