lewis to ferrari

The end of an era: Lewis Hamilton's move to Ferrari for the 2025 season confirmed

In a shock announcement, the British seven-time World Champion and longstanding Mercedes driver has signed with Ferrari for the 2025 season.

It's no secret that F1's most decorated driver has been suffering from a bout of discontent at Mercedes but, until now, both Hamilton and his long-serving team have managed to contain it. With his move to Ferrari now confirmed for the 2025 season, Hamilton's move sends shockwaves through the F1 paddock, just weeks from the 2024 pre-season test in Bahrain (February 21-23).

Despite signing a two-year deal with Mercedes in summer 2023, it's believed Hamilton's contract entitles him to leave at the end of 2024. Over at Ferrari, Hamilton will replace Carlos Sainz, whose contract will expire at the same time Hamilton is set to take his seat, while Charles Leclerc's recently agreed deal keeps him contracted to Ferrari.

Rumours of Hamilton's potential move have been circulating for years, alongside his growing frustration with the Mercedes team after its fortunes dwindled in recent years. Ferrari admitted to holding talks with Hamilton - then the reigning world champion - in 2019 but nothing material came of it.

Just last season, the 39-year-old hinted at his interest in the Ferrari squad shortly before his new Mercedes contract was signed, revealing in an interview to ESPN that he would be "lying" if he said he had "never thought about ending my career anywhere else." The seven-time champion went on to add: "I thought about and watched the Ferrari drivers on the screens at the track and of course you wonder what it would be like to be in red," before admitting that Mercedes is "home" and that he is happy where he is.

Hamilton's discontent and frustration with Mercedes can be traced back to the controversial 2021 season final in Abu Dhabi, when Hamilton lost out to Max Verstappen after former FIA race director Michael Masi ignored the rules in operating a late-race safety car period. Since then, Red Bull has dominated the sport over the past two seasons, taking advantage of the rule changes in 2022, while Mercedes struggled to field a competitive car.

Before then, Hamilton had enjoyed a largely dominant 14-year period with both McLaren and Mercedes, in which he secured all seven of his World Championship titles.

Like Mercedes, Ferrari have also had a difficult few seasons trying to keep up and defeat the dominant Red Bull team. While battling against Mercedes for second in the constructors' championship in 2023, Ferrari lost by just three points, despite proving to be the faster cars by the end of the season.

Hamilton's move creates an open seat at Mercedes, with Fernando Alonso as the only top-ranking driver contractually available by the end of the 2024 season and Carlos Sainz now looking for a job. Max Verstappen is locked into Red Bull until 2027 and Lando Norris has just signed a new, highly publicised deal at McLaren.

With Hamilton still driven by the desire to clinch an eighth Championship, the Brit is looking for a team to take him there. While he believes that to be Ferrari, the Italian team's recent form would suggest that's far from the case. Still, the lure of Ferrari has proved irresistible for many well-placed drivers in the past. The team - one of the most iconic and long-standing in the series - has an appeal unlike any other team, attracting the likes of Michael Schumacher and reportedly Ayrton Senna, who was said to be eyeing a seat at Ferrari before he was killed in the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix.

How Hamilton will fare at Ferrari remains to be seen but the timing of the announcement - just weeks before the season start - makes it even more interesting. With the series launched straight into silly season before even a wheel has turned, the 2024 F1 Championship looks set to be a significant one.