Lewis Hamilton will leave Mercedes at the end of the 2024 season after 11 years to join Ferrari, where he will join Charles Leclerc in the blockbuster line; Hamilton signs ‘multi-year deal’ with Ferrari; watch every F1 race in 2024 live on Sky Sports F1
Author Nigel Chiu and James Galloway
22:47, UK, Thursday 01 February 2024
Mercedes revealed Lewis Hamilton initiated the decision to leave the team to move to Ferrari for the 2025 F1 season.
Ferrari confirmed on Thursday evening that world champion Hamilton has joined the team on a multi-year deal from next season.
“The Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team and Lewis Hamilton will part ways at the end of the 2024 season,” said a Mercedes statement.
“Lewis has put in place an exit contract that was announced last August and as a result this season will be his last in charge of the Silver Arrows.”
Hamilton added: “I’ve had 11 amazing years with this team and I’m proud of what we’ve achieved together. Mercedes has been part of my life since I was 13 years old.
“It’s the place where I grew up, so making the decision to leave was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made. But the time has come for me to take this step and I’m happy to take part in a new challenge.
“I will always be grateful for the wonderful support of my Mercedes family, especially Toto for his friendship and leadership and I want to finish together. I am 100 percent committed to show the best I can this season and make my life. Last year with the Silver Arrows, one to remember .”
Hamilton will join Charles Leclerc at the Italian team in a blockbuster line-up featuring two of F1’s fastest drivers and big names. It leaves Carlos Sainz looking for another seat in the team at the end of this season when his contract expires.
“Following today’s news, Scuderia Ferrari and myself will part ways at the end of 2024,” Sainz said.
“We still have a long season ahead of us and, as always, I will wish all the best to the team and to Tifosi around the world. Details of my future will be announced soon.”
Wolff: We agree with Hamilton’s decision
Hamilton, who turned 39 in January and will be 40 when he starts his new career in Italy, has won six of the seven titles at Mercedes since joining McLaren in 2013 as the driver and team rewrote the F1 books. .
Mercedes will now begin the search for Hamilton’s successor, George Russell, in another seat until the end of 2025.
“In terms of communication with the team drivers, our relationship with Lewis has been the best the sport has ever seen, and it is something we can look back on with pride,” said Mercedes boss Toto Wolff.
“Lewis will always be an important part of the history of Mercedes motorsport. However, we knew that our partnership would end at some point, and that day has come.
“We accept Lewis’s decision to seek new challenges, and our future opportunities are exciting to think about. But for now, we still have one season to go, and we are eager to go racing to deliver a strong 2024.”
Hamilton and Ferrari finally tie the knot
The famous marriage between the famous F1 driver and his famous team has been variously speculated over the years but the last chance of a deal seemed to have passed when Hamilton agreed to extend his two-year contract with Mercedes last August. arranged to take him to the evening of his 41st birthday.
But now all this has changed in unexpected ways.
Although he has spoken admiringly of Ferrari and its history in the past, and has owned Ferrari road cars, Hamilton has made it clear that he will be satisfied with his career breaking the last record without driving the red car of motorsport.
Hamilton’s association with Mercedes began in 1998 when he first joined McLaren, then Mercedes, at the age of 13. Speaking in 2019, Hamilton spoke of the importance of long-term relationships and admitted that “when you’re part of Mercedes you’re in family all your life, if you live with them”.
But he disputed this by adding: “Loyalty is a very important part, but if there’s one point in my life that I think I want to change, it’s that. [joining Ferrari] may be the way.”
The Sky F1 investigates Hamilton’s blockbuster move
Martin Brundle: “Lewis hasn’t won a race in a few years and we’ve seen some changes he’s made, bringing back Marc Hynes, who was his long-time mentor and eyes and ears in the paddock.
“I think he’s probably gone ‘I’m going to stop focusing on all things outside of racing and go back to Lewis Hamilton driving’. I think this is a great opportunity to encourage him and empower him in this part of his career.
“There are a few drivers who seem to have the energy and determination to keep going. Fernando Alonso is one and Lewis Hamilton is another.”
Karun Chandhok: “Somehow, somewhere, maybe he lost confidence in the Mercedes project and does not believe that they will give him the opportunity to fight with Max Verstappen, or it is a romantic way to drive a car in a red Ferrari.”
Damon Hill: “Lewis has a habit of running with the wind blowing you and I think he may have gone blind – just like he did when he left McLaren and went to Mercedes.”
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