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Lewis Hamilton has made a surprising decision to join Ferrari for the 2025 Formula 1 season.
F1 Sport

Lewis Hamilton has made a surprising decision to join Ferrari for the 2025 Formula 1 season.

Lewis Hamilton has described his decision to leave Mercedes and join Ferrari in 2025 as one of the hardest of his life, after the British driver made the most striking move in the ­Formula One driver market this century.

The Scuderia has reached a multi-year agreement with the seven-time world champion, resulting in his departure from Mercedes after this season. The 39-year-old has been with Mercedes since 2013 and will be entering his 12th season with the team, having won six world championships. He stated that it was a difficult decision but one that he believes is the right choice.

“I have been connected with Mercedes since I was 13,” he stated. “It’s a place where I have matured, so choosing to depart was one of the most difficult decisions I have ever made. However, the timing feels appropriate for me to take this leap and I am enthusiastic about embarking on a new venture.”

The Mercedes team principal, Toto Wolff, who joined the team the same year as Hamilton and has forged a close friendship with him, accepted the decision even while it must have been hugely disappointing for the whole team.

“Lewis will forever hold a significant role in Mercedes’ history,” he stated. “While we foresaw that our collaboration would eventually come to a close, that time has now arrived. We respect Lewis’s choice to pursue a new venture, and we look forward to the promising possibilities that lie ahead for us.”

Hamilton gave credit to his team for their support in helping him achieve an unparalleled level of accomplishment. This includes his record-breaking 103 wins and tying Michael Schumacher’s seven championship titles.

“I am immensely appreciative of the unwavering support from my Mercedes team, particularly Toto for his friendship and guidance. I aim to end our journey on a high note,” he expressed. “I am fully dedicated to giving my utmost performance this season and creating unforgettable memories in my final year with the Silver Arrows.”

In previous instances, there were rumors of the driver potentially moving to the Ferrari team. However, he has consistently stated his commitment to Mercedes and expressed his intention to retire with the team and eventually become an ambassador. Last August, he signed a contract extension for two more years, until 2024-2025, with the second year containing a clause that allowed him to leave for a release option. He has now exercised this option and will join Charles Leclerc at Ferrari.

Ferrari has officially confirmed that Lewis Hamilton will be joining their team in 2025 under a multi-year contract.

His relationship with Mercedes began when he was taken on by McLaren as junior driver when Mercedes were the team’s engine supplier, before joining the Silver Arrows in 2013. On Thursday his negotiations with Ferrari became clear and the two teams confirmed the deal had been done at 7pm. It is a remarkable coup for them, as the most successful team in F1 persuading the sport’s most ­successful driver to join the Scuderia at Maranello.

On the other hand, Mercedes will suffer greatly from Hamilton’s departure, and Wolff recognized his valuable contributions. “Our partnership with Lewis has been the most successful in the sport’s history, and that is something we can take great pride in,” he stated.

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In the past, Hamilton has had conversations with Ferrari’s CEO, John Elkann, who has expressed interest in having him join the Scuderia. The team has confirmed that they have discussed the possibility of Hamilton joining them in 2019. However, there have been rumors in the past about Hamilton moving to Ferrari that turned out to be false. As recently as last year, he strongly denied being in talks with Ferrari.

The decision brings to a close a remarkably successful stint with ­Mercedes that has set new ­standards in the sport. Hamilton has won six of his seven world championships with the team and they won eight constructors’ championships during that period as the pre-eminent force in F1.

In recent years, their vehicle has been significantly slower compared to the dominant Red Bull team, preventing Hamilton from contending for the championship. Despite expressing his disappointment and frustration with their performance, Hamilton has always remained confident in the team’s ability to bounce back.

This year, they are introducing a completely new design in hopes of closing the gap. However, Hamilton’s decision strongly implies that he has more faith in Ferrari’s capability to produce a car that can compete for the championship.

Moving to Ferrari does not guarantee success, as they have also faced challenges under the new regulations. In the previous season, they finished third in the constructors’ championship behind Red Bull and Mercedes. It has been over a decade since their last drivers’ title (won by Kimi Räikkönen in 2007) and over a decade since their last constructors’ championship (won in 2008).

Source: theguardian.com