Formula 1 superstar Lewis Hamilton is leaving Mercedes completely unexpectedly at the end of this season and will drive sensationally for Ferrari from 2025. Both racing teams announced this within a few minutes.

“I have had eleven fantastic years with this team and I am very proud of what we have achieved together,” said Hamilton, according to Mercedes’ statement, and spoke of one of the hardest decisions he has ever had to make. “But the time is ripe for me to take this step and I’m looking forward to taking on a new challenge.”

Shortly afterwards, Ferrari announced in a brief statement that Hamilton had signed a contract with Scuderia for several years. The Briton will be 40 years old in his first race in the red overalls.

“We knew that our partnership would come to a natural end at some point, and that day has now come,” explained Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff. According to media reports, he had previously informed the workforce about Hamilton’s early departure. The 103-time Grand Prix winner is making use of an exit clause. “We accept Lewis’ decision to take on a new challenge while offering us exciting opportunities for the future,” said Wolff. Finally, one of the most sought-after cockpits will become available after the coming season.

However, Mercedes only extended the contracts with Hamilton and his English compatriot George Russell until the end of 2025 in August last year. However, there had always been speculation about a move to the most famous Formula 1 racing team.

At 40 years old in red

Hamilton admitted last year that he had already imagined what it would be like to “drive in red.” Now the 39-year-old record world champion is actually switching to Ferrari – a year before the new engine regulations are introduced for the 2026 season.

“Our story is not over yet, we are determined to achieve more together and we will not stop until we do it,” Hamilton, winner of 103 races, said during his last contract extension with Mercedes.

Mercedes is no longer ready for the title

However, the Silver Arrows crisis in the past two years and the agonizing wait for his first Grand Prix victory since December 2021 may have influenced Hamilton’s decision. However, Ferrari has been waiting for the next title success among the drivers since Kimi Räikkönen’s triumph in 2007 – Hamilton’s first year in Formula 1.

Hamilton moved to Mercedes for the 2013 season as Michael Schumacher’s successor after his final resignation from McLaren. He became world champion in 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020. In 2016 he had to admit defeat to his then teammate Nico Rosberg. Since 2021 the title has gone to Max Verstappen.

Chance for Mick Schumacher?

Hamilton wants to change that again – at Ferrari from 2025. There the Englishman will be a teammate of Monegasque Charles Leclerc, whose contract was recently extended early. Spaniard Carlos Sainz will have to clear the cockpit for Hamilton after this season.

Who will succeed the Brit at Mercedes has not yet been announced. Replacement driver Mick Schumacher could have a chance to return to a regular cockpit due to Hamilton’s departure.