Shockwaves have been sent around the F1 paddock as a deal to send Lewis Hamilton to Ferrari for the 2025 season has been finalized.

It’s official. Lewis Hamilton – the seven-time Formula One World Driver’s Champion – is joining Ferrari on a multi-year deal from the 2025 season onwards. It’s a link that we’ve heard whispers of before in past rumor mills, but this time, the rumors had legs and it didn’t take long for the story to start running at full pace. Yesterday began with a flurry of shock reports from multiple respected F1 journalists breaking the news. Then, in the evening, the parties involved confirmed the deal on social media.

Undoubtedly, this is the biggest F1 driver transfer of the 21st Century, given the stature of the names and history involved. As a result, there’s a lot to unpack, so let’s try to unpack it all together. Here’s everything we know about the deal that’s taking Hamilton to Ferrari.

The details

It wasn’t that long ago (August 2023) that Hamilton signed a new deal with the team he has considered like family since 2013. Back then, we understood that his now-current contract would see the Brit continue his association with Mercedes in both 2024 and 2025. However, we now know that the 2025 season was only ever an option rather than an obligation, and Hamilton has elected not to take up that option.

Ferrari’s interest in Hamilton has been long-standing, but until now he has always stuck by Mercedes. So, for this move to have gone ahead, Hamilton must have very recently either lost faith in Merc’s ability to turn its form around, or simply decided that a new challenge in a new environment was necessary to revitalize his own personal performance.

Throughout Merc’s decline since the start of 2022, Hamilton has been adamant that he trusted the engineers at Brackley to get on top of the car concept and restore themselves back to victory contention. However, perhaps this move to Ferrari is an indication that he now feels his trust was misplaced. Or, less harshly, maybe is an indication that the staff turnover at Mercedes hasn’t been able to replicate the genius of the former setup.

Either way, it’ll be very interesting to see how the 2024 Ferrari stacks up against the 2024 Mercedes.

Carlos Sainz jr.

The domino effect

With Ferrari confirmed to be signing Hamilton, what does that mean for the Italian team’s current driver line-up? Well, this shock news comes at a very interesting time. Only last week, Ferrari reached a deal to extend Charles Leclerc’s contract on a multi-year basis. That therefore means that Carlos Sainz Jr will be shown the exit.

If further rumors are to be believed, that would then pave the way for Sainz to join Stake in 2025 and bed into the team before it evolves into Audi in 2026, though there could also be movement at Aston Martin, and there’s even potential for him to slot into Hamilton’s old seat at Mercedes.

As for who else could take the newly-vacant Mercedes seat, well that’s anyone’s guess. Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri are tied down to McLaren for the long-term, but Alexander Albon is likely to be in the conversation if he repeats his 2023 form again this year. If Albon does make the step up, that would then create room for Mercedes junior driver Kimi Antonelli to make his F1 debut with Williams, who are a Mercedes engine customer and are led by former Mercedes man James Vowles. For now though, all of that remains conjecture.

Lewis Hamilton at the 2019 British GP

The first word

When such a landmark driver transfer happens, there’s understandably plenty of emotion involved. Here’s what everyone had to say about the news, starting with Mercedes F1 team principal, Toto Wolff:

“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,” Wolff said. “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’ decision to seek a fresh challenge, and our opportunities for the future are exciting to contemplate. But for now, we still have one season to go, and we are focused on going racing to deliver a strong 2024.”

Hamilton then followed up, saying, “I have had an amazing 11 years with this team and I’m so proud of what we have achieved together.

“Mercedes has been part of my life since I was 13 years old. It’s a place where I have grown up, so making the decision to leave was one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make. But the time is right for me to take this step and I’m excited to be taking on a new challenge.

“I will be forever grateful for the incredible support of my Mercedes family, especially Toto for his friendship and leadership and I want to finish on a high together. I am 100% committed to delivering the best performance I can this season and making my last year with the Silver Arrows, one to remember.”

Lewis Hamilton stands on the podium alongside Vasseur, Sainz and Norris

The right move?

It’s worth pointing out that although this is a spectacular new challenge for Hamilton, he won’t be walking into a completely foreign environment. After all, he worked with Ferrari team principal Frédéric Vasseur back in the mid-2000s when Vasseur was heading the ART GP2 team that Hamilton raced for prior to his breakthrough in F1. That partnership bore plenty of success – namely, the GP2 championship title – so the pair will want to pick up in F1 where they left off in GP2.

There is still an element of risk attached to this move though, for both parties. By the time the 2025 season rolls around, Hamilton will be 40 years old, so it’d be asking a lot for him to replicate the success he enjoyed earlier in his career. Mind you, Fernando Alonso is currently proving that age is just a number, so it wouldn’t be beyond the realms of possibility that an equally fit athlete like Hamilton could still do a job at the top of the sport in his forties.

Regardless of how things pan out, one thing is for certain. F1 now has the intriguing storyline that it so desperately needed.