In a surprising turn of events, seven-time Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton has announced his departure from Mercedes at the end of the 2024 season to join Ferrari, marking a significant shake-up in the auto racing league.
Mercedes confirmed that Hamilton “activated a release option” in his contract, ending his 11-year partnership with the team. Toto Wolff, the team’s Principal, and CEO, acknowledged the historic success of their relationship, stating, “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 continued, “However, we knew our partnership would come to a natural end at some point, and that day has now come. We accept Lewis’s 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 racing to deliver a strong 2024.”
Hamilton, who first joined Mercedes in 2013, secured six of his seven world titles with the team between 2014 and 2020. The move to Ferrari has been a subject of speculation in recent years, and the announcement confirms a significant shift in Hamilton’s career plans.
Ferrari released a statement expressing their pleasure at Hamilton’s decision to join the team on a multi-year contract, starting from the 2025 season.
Hamilton, commenting on his departure from Mercedes, said, “Mercedes has been part of my life since I was 13 years old. It’s a place where I grew up, so deciding to leave was one of the hardest decisions I have ever made. But the time is right for me to take this step, and I’m excited to take on a new challenge.”
“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,” he added.
Hamilton signed a new two-year deal with Mercedes in August of the previous year, extending his contract through the 2025 season. The details regarding any exit clause in the contract remain unclear.
With this move, Hamilton will likely replace Spanish driver Carlos Sainz at Ferrari, given that his teammate, Charles Leclerc, recently signed a fresh contract extension. The Formula 1 community eagerly awaits the start of the next season, kicking off in Bahrain on Feb. 29.