Formula 1 fans were surprised by the news that Lewis Hamilton, a seven-time world champion, will switch from Mercedes to Ferrari in 2025. This unexpected move comes after Hamilton's recent contract extension with Mercedes initially secured his commitment to the team until 2025. However, he has chosen to exercise a release option, allowing him to part ways with the team after just one season.

Hamilton reflected on his decision, saying, "Leaving Mercedes was a tough decision." Despite the difficulty, he expressed excitement about taking on a new challenge and thanked his Mercedes family, particularly acknowledging Toto Wolff, Mercedes team principal, for his friendship and leadership.

"I am fully committed to delivering the best performance this season and making my last year with the Silver Arrows memorable," added Hamilton.

On February 1, 2024, Mercedes officially confirmed Hamilton's departure at the end of 2024, following the activation of the release clause.

Ferrari quickly announced the signing of the seven-time world champion. "Scuderia Ferrari is pleased to announce that Lewis Hamilton will be joining the team in 2025 on a multi-year contract," Ferrari declared.

This move indicates that Hamilton will replace Carlos Sainz at Ferrari. Sainz posted on social media, "Following today's news, Scuderia Ferrari and myself will part ways at the end of 2024. We still have a long season ahead of us, and I will give my best for the team and for the Tifosi worldwide. News about my future will be announced in due course."

Speculations surround Sainz's potential move to Stake F1 Team Kick Sauber, particularly with Audi set to take over in 2026. Carlos Sainz Sr., the driver's father, confirmed discussions regarding this potential move. 

Alternatively, Red Bull emerges as a viable option for 2025, with Sergio Perez's contract concluding at the end of the year. Sainz, formerly part of the Red Bull family and with almost three years at Toro Rosso, is a strong contender. Notably, Sainz was the only non-Red Bull driver to secure a victory in the 2023 season, ending Red Bull's winning streak during the Singapore Grand Prix.

Ferrari's team principal, Fred Vasseur, worked with Hamilton during the latter's triumph in the GP2 (now Formula Two) championship in 2006 under the ART team. The two have remained on good terms since.

  • Hamilton's Journey with Mercedes

Hamilton clinched six of his seven world titles with Mercedes, securing the constructors' championship for eight consecutive years from 2014 to 2021. Despite being a record holder with 103 victories and 104 pole positions since his career's start in 2007, Hamilton faced challenges in recent seasons, unable to match Red Bull and Max Verstappen's performance. The drought in race victories persisted after the controversial denial of an eighth driver's championship on the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix's final lap, extending through 2022 and 2023.

"In terms of a team-driver pairing, our relationship with Lewis has become the most successful the sport has seen, and that's something we can look back on with pride," said Wolff.

"Lewis will always be an important part of Mercedes motorsport history."

"However, we knew our partnership would come to a natural end at some point, and that day has now come. We accept Lewis's decision to seek a fresh challenge, and our opportunities for the future are exciting to contemplate."

This marks one of the significant driver moves in Formula 1 history, ushering in a new era for Lewis Hamilton and the teams involved.

  • What's Next

Anticipated shifts in the driver lineup are on the horizon, given that contracts for Sergio Perez, Fernando Alonso, Esteban Ocon, Pierre Gasly, Alex Albon, Logan Sargeant, Daniel Ricciardo, Yuki Tsunoda, Valtteri Bottas, Zhou Guanyu, Kevin Magnussen, and Nico Hulkenberg are set to conclude at the end of 2024.

As the countdown to the 2024 season ticks away with just 29 days remaining, Ferrari is gearing up to unveil the SF-24 at a media event in Maranello on February 13. 

Mercedes will take the digital stage to showcase their W15 at Silverstone on February 14.

You can find more information here for additional details on all team livery reveal dates.