Lewis Hamilton agrees shock Ferrari switch for 2025 F1 season

Lewis Hamilton’s shock move to Ferrari for the 2025 F1 season has been confirmed. Photograph: Auto Car
  • Scuderia seal deal to poach the seven-time world champion
  • ‘The hardest decisions I have ever had to make,’ says Hamilton

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 seven-time world champion has agreed a multi-year deal with the Scuderia that means he will leave Mercedes at the end of this season. The 39-year-old, who has driven for Mercedes since 2013 and this year will enter his 12th season with the team with whom he has won six world championships, said it had been a hard choice but one he believed was correct.

“Mercedes has been part of my life since I was 13 years old,” he said. “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.”

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 always be an important part of Mercedes history,” he said. “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.”

Hamilton, in turn, paid tribute to the team which has helped him enjoy an unprecedented scale of success, including the most wins with 103 and equalling Michael Schumacher’s record of seven titles.

“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,” he said. “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.”

The driver has been linked with a move to Ferrari in the past but has repeatedly said he would stay with Mercedes, suggesting he would see out his career with the team and then take on an ambassadorial role. In August last year he signed a new two-year deal with the team for 2024-25. The second year included a release option which he has ­activated to enable him to join Charles Leclerc at Ferrari.

A statement from Ferrari read: “Scuderia Ferrari is pleased to announce that Lewis Hamilton will be joining the team in 2025, on 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.

In contrast, Hamilton’s departure will be a serious blow to Mercedes and his contribution was acknowledged by Wolff. “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,” he said.

Hamilton is known to have previously had discussions with the Ferrari chief executive, John Elkann, who has made clear his desire to bring him to the Scuderia and the team admitted they had held talks with Hamilton about the chances of the British driver joining them in 2019. Nonetheless, previous rumours of a move to ­Ferrari have proved unfounded and as recently as last year he emphatically 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.

However, since 2022 their car has been well off the pace of the dominant Red Bull team and he has been unable to challenge for the title. Hamilton has made his ­disappointment and frustration at their performance clear but always said that he was confident the team would come back.

This season they are bringing an entirely new design in an attempt to bridge the gap but Hamilton’s ­decision strongly suggests he is more confident in Ferrari’s ability to deliver a car to challenge for the title.

The move to Ferrari will, none­theless, not guarantee success. They, too, have struggled under the new ­regulations, finishing third in the constructors’ championship last year behind Red Bull and Mercedes. They have not won a drivers’ title since Kimi Räikkönen did so in 2007 and have not won a constructors’ ­championship since 2008.