- Formula One star Lewis Hamilton is set to leave Mercedes for Ferrari on a multiyear contract after the 2024 season, the two motorsport teams confirmed Thursday.1
- Though describing his decision to leave Mercedes as 'one of the hardest' of his life, Hamilton said it was the right time to take 'on a new challenge.' He will join Charles Leclerc at Ferrari, replacing Spanish driver Carlos Sainz.2
- This comes as the 39-year-old Briton — who dominated the sport from 2014 to 2020 — reportedly activated a release option in a new two-year contract he signed with Mercedes last August, which would prolong his tenure with the team to 13 years.3
- Seven-time world champion Hamilton is the most successful F1 driver with 103 wins — 12 more than the also seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher — but failed to win a race in the past two seasons.4
- Meanwhile, Ferrari is the longest-running and most decorated F1 team with a record 16 constructor's titles — the last one in 2008 when then-McLaren's Hamilton defeated Ferrari's Felipe Mass to win his first driver's championship.5
- Though the driver line-up is set to remain unchanged from 2023 to 2024 for the first time ever, more changes in the grid are expected for the 2025 season as several contracts are set to expire at the end of this year.6
Sources: 1NBC, 2CNN, 3BBC News, 4Forbes, 5Yahoo Sports and 6Motor Sport Magazine.
- Narrative A, as provided by Formula 1®. Hamilton is at the twilight of his career, and, naturally, he couldn't ignore the lure of Ferrari — Formula One's most successful team by far in history. Having lost three back-to-back championships, a move to Ferrari could reignite his challenge for the record eighth title — which he had no real chance of winning at Mercedes.
- Narrative B, as provided by Vogue. Despite his poor run of late, Hamilton remains the biggest, most successful driver in F1. While, despite signing all-time greats like Fernando Alonso, Ferrari hasn't won a driver's championship in the past 15 years. The prestigious name in the sport needed F1's most decorated champion to end its drought rather than the other way around.
- Narrative C, as provided by ESPN. Hamilton's groundbreaking decision — less than a month from the start of the 2024 F1 season — not only deals a huge blow to Mercedes and leaves a gaping hole in its driver lineup for 2025, but it will likely trigger changes to other F1 teams' lineups. The move is ill-timed and doesn't guarantee success, considering Red Bull has dominated the sport over the past two seasons.