The seven-time champion has been a long-time dream of
driving for Ferrari since he made his grand prix debut in 2007, and had said he
would remain with Mercedes as a brand ambassador until 2025.
However, the news came as a shock to Mercedes, who had won six of Hamilton's seven world championships and had been expecting him to stay with the team.
"Lewis Hamilton has signed a £40m deal with Ferrari to end his career," read a statement from the Briton, who had previously said he would stay with Mercedes for the remainder of his career.
"This has been a dream of his since he first started racing in 2007," read the statement, which was sent to Mail Sport on Tuesday. "Mercedes have been left in shock and disbelief."
Lewis Hamilton has been with Mercedes since his 13th birthday and has been with the team for 11 years. Last May, this paper reported that he was in negotiations with Ferrari to join their team. However, Hamilton, team boss Fred Vasser and team owner Jean-Luca Arrivabene publicly distanced themselves from the talks.
Ferrari announced the signing of Hamilton in a statement last night, saying: "We are delighted that Lewis Hamilton has decided to join Scuderia Ferrari for the 2025 season. We are proud of the progress we have made together and look forward to the challenge of this new chapter in our history."
Team Statement— Scuderia Ferrari (@ScuderiaFerrari) February 1, 2024
Scuderia Ferrari is pleased to announce that Lewis Hamilton will be joining the team in 2025, on a multi-year contract. pic.twitter.com/moEMqUgzXH
The announcement came after secret talks between Hamilton, who has been with Ferrari since 2013, and President John Elkann. "I have been with Ferrari since my 13th birthday, and it has been one of the most difficult decisions I have had to make in my life," Hamilton said. "I am so excited to take on this new challenge and look forward to it."
The news is plainly the biggest transfer in F1 history, surpassing indeed Hamilton's move in2012/13 from McLaren to Mercedes. He'll mate Charles Leclerc, the boy Napoleon from Monaco, who has just inked a deal to remain with the Scuderia until 2029 on a payment worth over to£ 35m, lagniappes included.
Leclerc's current mate Carlos Sainz, due to be with Ferrari this coming season but not further, has a suddenly uncertain future. His contract accommodations stalled in December of last time- and we now know why.
At Mercedes, dusk. They've the excellent George Russell, but with whom to mate him coming time? maybe his confidante from Williams, Alex Albon. But Mercedes' have a potent job on their hands to turn themselves back into the automatic successful machine they formerly were.
Hamilton's decision is a slight on their capability to revivify themselves. He easily doesn't believe Mercedes can supplicate a winning programme within the frame of his career- or at least he doubts it.
He has not won a race, to go with his 103 other record palms, since losing the title to Max Verstappen in 2021 in Abu Dhabi in that so controversial race.
Meanwhile, F1 pundits have given a more considered take on the huge news.
Martin Brundle said' I ’m so looking forward to this. We ’ve asked him for times about it and he sounded nailed on at Merc for life, and always dismissive of moving. Hamilton and Leclerc in scarlet, that’s a story.'
David Croft added' Lewis Hamilton to Ferrari! Always allowed it would be one day, eventually it'll and it seems as early as 2025.
Lewis Hamilton to Ferrari! Always thought it would happen one day, finally it will and it seems as early as 2025. Seismic move just as it was when Lewis joined Mercedes and like then I don’t see the negatives. But wow, undoubtedly the biggest transfer on transfer deadline day!— David Croft (@CroftyF1) February 1, 2024
Seismic move just as it was when Lewis joined Mercedes and like also I do n’t see the negatives. But wow, really the biggest transfer on transfer deadline day!'
Former motorist Karun Chandhok explained that the romanticism of a final world title with Ferrari was too good to turn down.
I was trying to understand “ Where’s the sense in a Ferrari move? ” maybe there is n’t any Lewis has further plutocrat than he could ever spend, has n’t won a race in over 2 times & perhaps his heart wanted a new challenge.
To win an 8th title in a Ferrari would be an inconceivable