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A surprising move has occurred: the seven-time world champion will be racing alongside Charles Leclerc for the Scuderia. After shocking Mercedes and Formula One fans alike, Lewis Hamilton has announced his intention to join Ferrari for the 2025 season. He joined Mercedes in 2013 and signed a new two-year deal last summer.
However, as he nears the end of his career, the seven-time F1 world champion has had a shocking change of heart and is now aiming for a record-breaking eighth title. Hamilton, who has inked a “multi-year contract,” will take over for Carlos Sainz at Ferrari next year. The Spaniard will be free from his contract with the legendary Italian team at the end of 2024 and is currently seeking a new club. Charles Leclerc will be racing alongside Hamilton.
On Thursday afternoon, Mercedes’ CEO Toto Wolff and technical director James Allison notified Mercedes personnel of Hamilton’s departure. On Thursday night, the Silver Arrows released a statement confirming the news. Among the most difficult decisions he has ever had to make was to leave, Hamilton stated. The moment is perfect, though, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to tackle this new task.
The Silver Arrows will now have to find a driver to link up with George Russell in 2025, while they hope to have a successful season with Hamilton in 2024, his last year with the team. Considering that the new season begins in less than a month, it signifies a wildly unexpected change of events. Hamilton has been steadfast in his devotion to Mercedes up until this point, and he will be 40 years old when he dons the infamous scarlet red. Speculation has it that John Elkann, president of Ferrari, has played a pivotal role in convincing Hamilton to trade Brackley for Maranello next year.
“I am incredibly proud of everything we have accomplished together over the past eleven years,” Hamilton continued. Ever since I was thirteen years old, Mercedes has been a part of my life. I have spent my entire life here. In particular, I want to conclude on a happy note with Toto, whose friendship and leadership have been invaluable to me, and the rest of my Mercedes family, for whom I will be eternally thankful. I intend to make the most of my final season with the Silver Arrows by giving my all in every game.”
After an unexpected move to Mercedes from McLaren in 2013, Hamilton became the sport’s all-time leading scorer. Since then, he has won six of his seven world championships with the German team.
We can look back on our collaboration with Lewis as the most successful team-driver combo in the sport’s history with pride, as Wolff added: “Lewis will always be an important part of Mercedes motorsport history.” But we always anticipated that our collaboration would end naturally, and the time has come. Our future prospects are thrilling to think about, and we fully support Lewis’s decision to pursue new challenges. But for the time being, we are focused on racing in order to produce a good 2024, and we still have one season left. In a contentious final race in Abu Dhabi in 2021, the 39-year-old almost lost out on a record-breaking eighth title.”
Since then, Max Verstappen’s Red Bull has swept to consistent victories, leaving Mercedes behind. Not since December 2021 in Saudi Arabia did Hamilton claim victory in a race. Hamilton denied the rumors and stated his intention to remain at Mercedes “for life” when they surfaced in May of last year, when he was extensively connected with Ferrari. Last August, Hamilton appeared to reaffirm his determination to restore Mercedes’ dominance by signing extension contracts with teammate Russell until the end of 2025.
However, Hamilton appears to have been influenced by the allure of Ferrari and the opportunity to join the likes of Michael Schumacher and Niki Lauda, two of the racing greats of yesteryear, as he strives for his eighth world title. The Bahrain Grand Prix will kick off the 2024 season four weeks from now, on Saturday.