Formula 1 will witness one of its biggest transfers in history: after rumors from various sources and media outlets, we can confirm that British driver Lewis Hamilton will leave Mercedes at the end of 2024 and will be a Ferrari driver from the 2025 Formula 1 season.
The information was relayed to Mercedes members in an extraordinary meeting on Thursday, where Silver Arrows chief Toto Wolff confirmed that he was informed by Lewis Hamilton that the seven-time world champion has a contract with the Maranello team for the upcoming championship.
A source told Motorsport.com Brazil that Toto Wolff delivered the news to staff through an online video call because Toto is in Milan, but the Austrian asserted that the 39-year-old veteran will indeed leave the Anglo-German team at the end of this year.
According to the Austrian executive, Lewis Hamilton informed him of the news on Wednesday morning when he also discussed with the CEO of Silver Arrows about his final season with the German brand.
The courtship between Lewis and Scuderia had been longstanding, but this time not even the contract signed between Hamilton and Mercedes last year was an obstacle for the English driver to join the Italian team.
The bond between the Englishman and the Brackley squad was announced to last until the end of 2025, but, in reality, the document presupposed a ‘1+1’ agreement, meaning the ‘mandatory’ stay is until the end of 2024, with an option until the end of 2025, which Lewis Hamilton will not exercise.
As a result, Spaniard Carlos Sainz will leave Ferrari at the end of 2024, completing four seasons alongside Monegasque Charles Leclerc, who recently renewed with the Scuderia.
Hamilton’s departure marks the end of a highly successful era with the Silver Arrows. Since the beginning of the hybrid era in F1, from 2014, six of the driver’s seven titles were under Wolff’s command.
Furthermore, for the first time in his career in the premier category of world motorsport, the Briton will compete with an engine other than Mercedes, as during his time with McLaren, the driver’s power unit was also from the Germans. An official announcement regarding Hamilton’s departure from Mercedes and the seven-time world champion’s move to Ferrari is expected around later this evening or on Friday morning.