Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes look at the Mercedes GP Team photo during the preview of the F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi at the Yas Marina Circuit on November 23, 2023 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
Clive Rose | Getty Images Sport | Getty Images
It will end Mercedes’ 12-year driving partnership with Hamilton, which team boss Toto Wolff described as “the most successful team he has ever seen.”
Now recognized as a global icon, Hamilton first signed with Mercedes in 2013 and won seven out of seven world titles with the team between 2014 and 2020.
The winning streak has ended, however, and Hamilton has not won a race since the Saudi Arabia Grand Prix in December 2021.
“Mercedes has been a part of my life since I was 13. It’s where I grew up, so making the decision to leave was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made,” Hamilton said in a statement. “But the time has come for me to do this and I’m happy to take on another challenge.”
Ferrari, meanwhile, released a brief statement to say the team is “delighted” to announce that Hamilton will be signing a multi-year contract.
The news rocked F1, with 2009 world champion Jenson Button saying he was also shocked.
“This is great for the sport,” Button told Sky Sports F1 on Thursday. Button competed in the same McLaren team as Hamilton from 2010 to 2012.
“To have Ferrari change is huge. I think it’s great for the sport. Everyone will be looking at Formula 1, especially Ferrari and Lewis,” he added.
When asked why Hamilton might have decided to go to the 2025 season, Button replied: “Obviously 12 years at Mercedes is longer than most people spend in Formula One. To spend it with one team and achieve what they have, maybe they wanted something different to spice it up.” a little.”
“It’s very difficult and I can’t wait to see how he drives in the Ferrari,” said Button.
Hamilton’s hopes of joining Ferrari were a long shot, although Hamilton had previously said he wanted to stay with Mercedes for the rest of his life.
“Something has changed, where they don’t like what they see at Mercedes or they just want new challenges. [for] the last stage of his Grand Prix career and he has jumped,” Martin Brundle, former Formula One driver and commentator, he told Sky News Thursday.
“I think the bait was too big for him – and it’s good for Formula One and it’s good for us.”
Brundle said one reason Hamilton decided to make the change could be the upcoming regulatory overhaul, with new regulations in 2026 set to increase the power efficiency of F1 engines.
The proposed overhaul is the first major shake-up of the law since 2014.
Carlos Sainz of Spain third with Ferrari celebrates on the podium during the Italian F1 Grand Prix at Autodromo Nazionale Monza on September 03, 2023 in Monza, Italy.
Dan Istitene – Formula 1 | Form 1 | Getty Images
“Remember, many of us were surprised when Lewis left McLaren for Mercedes Benz but he came through [then team principal] Ross Brawn and others showed Lewis that “look, when this reform comes in 2014, we think we’re ahead of the game,” Brundle said.
“If Ferrari is saying, ‘we think we will follow the rules for 2026’ … that is a small part of what Lewis left McLaren for,” he said. “It was difficult for Mercedes at the beginning but then it turned into a very successful machine.”
Oscar Pisatri, the Australian racing driver racing for McLaren, appeared to sum up the reaction of the other drivers at the team when he made the announcement on Thursday.
In a post on the website X, Pisatri he said: “I just ran. Did I miss anything?”
The start of the next season of Formula One will start in Bahrain from Feb. 29.