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Confirmed: Hamilton will leave Mercedes for Ferrari at end of F1 season

In a sensational switch, Lewis Hamilton is leaving Mercedes for Ferrari at the end of the 2024 F1 season, after six drivers' titles and eight constructors' crowns with the team

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In the biggest driver move in F1 for more than a decade, Lewis Hamilton will leave Mercedes for Ferrari at the end of the 2024 season.

Hamilton Ferrari Mercedes F1
Lewis Hamilton joined Mercedes in 2013, having spent the first seven years of his F1 career with McLaren, winning the drivers’ title in 2008. (Image Credit: @MercedesAMGF1 on X)

After almost a day of whirlwind rumour and speculation, Hamilton leaving for Ferrari is official, with Mercedes announcing that he is departing the team at 7 pm GMT. This was followed up shortly afterwards by Ferrari, who confirmed that the seven-time drivers’ champ will join on a “multi-year contract” for 2025.

It’s a seismic moment for F1 and the aftershocks will cause a ripple effect throughout the driver market, with the 2024 silly season now well underway.

For the first time in F1 history, the grid that completed the previous year will go into the new season unchanged – save for team names.

That trend had spilt into 2024 when just last week Lando Norris extended his deal with McLaren and Charles Leclerc re-upped with Ferrari. The driver market was expected to be more volatile, but the Hamilton news has completely changed the face of it.

Ferrari have now further strengthened their pairing and will boast arguably the strongest line-up in contemporary F1.

The knock-on effects for the Italian outfit’s outgoing driver, Carlos Sainz, are yet to be known, but the Spaniard has been closely linked with Audi – who will take over the Stake F1 (Sauber) entry in 2026.

What has been said by Mercedes?

With the confirmation of the news, Mercedes CEO and Team Principal, Toto Wolff said:

“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; Lewis will always be an important part of Mercedes motorsport history. 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 going racing to deliver a strong 2024.”

Furthermore, Hamilton added:

“I have had an amazing 11 years with this team and I’m so proud of what we have achieved together. Mercedes has been part of my life since I was 13 years old. It’s a place where I have grown up, so making the decision to leave was one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make. But the time is right for me to take this step and I’m excited to be taking on a new challenge. I will be forever grateful for the incredible support of my Mercedes family, especially Toto for his friendship and leadership and I want to finish on a high together. 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.”

Who will partner Russell?

Mercedes now hold the key at the sharp end of the grid. They may choose to take their time in deciding who will partner George Russell next year, which could cause the driver market to stagnate as we approach the start of the current F1 season.

Williams driver Alex Albon, Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon of Alpine have already been touted as potential replacements, with Mercedes unlikely to look within the team at Mick Schumacher and Frederik Vesti.

Protégé Andrea Kimi Antonelli is already having his name bandied around on social media, but he is yet to complete a race in F2, having skipped FIA F3 entirely. Therefore, if he is in the running, it’ll likely push the decision back, as the team will want to assess how he takes to life in F2.

Featured Image Credit: Dan Istitene – Formula 1 via Getty Images

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