Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton is set to start his career with Ferrari in the 2025 season, replacing Carlos Sainz.
The final decision has been reached over Hamilton’s switch from Mercedes to Ferrari, Sky News reported.
Ferrari’s interest in Hamilton has been more than obvious, especially more recently. So perhaps this switch isn’t all that surprising and instead is only the inevitable career path for the former Mercedes (and McLaren) driver.
After becoming a part of the Merc team in 2012, Hamilton has secured 6 titles in the last decade, while also firming one of the strongest, if not the strongest driver/team partnerships in F1 history. With that being said – could it be true that he no longer sees success under Toto Wolff?
Naturally, this is a credible angle to take, due to the fact Hamilton has failed to secure any F1 wins under Mercedes since the 2021 season. Just as his switch from McLaren to Merc was a risk well taken, history is repeating itself a decade down the line.
What’s most confusing is that in 2023 Hamilton had already signed a deal tying him down to the Silver Arrows for both the 2024 and 2025 seasons, or so we thought; Ferrari only recently agreed to a contract extension with Charles Leclerc for ‘several seasons’ to come. With Hamilton’s seemingly one-plus-one agreement with Mercedes, the future for both teams is uncertain.
Although having the opportunity to ‘exit early’, a place on Ferrari’s team isn’t guaranteed. Unless, of course, contracts unknown to the public have already been formed.
Hamilton was first intertwined with Ferrari during the 2023 campaign in which he declined Elkann’s and Vasseur’s proposal regarding a move. Instead, he held his faith in Mercedes.
It’s unclear to say at just what point Hamilton had such a change of heart towards the team he was seemingly so fond of last year, telling Motorsports at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 2023 – “I do have faith that we will get there, we have been here before as a team, and while we have more and more new people, we still have great values, I see great focus within everyone.”
However, Mercedes’ poorly-adapted ‘size-zero’ architecture, which was reintroduced in the 2023 season, gives more reason for Hamilton’s alleged move.
Making enemies so close to a possible career switch and even the end isn’t wise, even for those as ‘great’ as himself, especially if he sees an eighth-world crown in his future with Ferrari.
Although the likes of Fernando Alonso have consistently proven that age doesn’t necessarily affect performance, by 2026, Hamilton will be reaching 41. When compared to a new generation of younger drivers, the odds are not in his favor.
But what does all this mean for Carlos Sainz?
As both Sainz and Hamilton’s contracts are coming to an end quicker than expected, it would make sense for Hamilton to take his place after the 2024 season. Sainz has been clear in his expectations going forward. Asking that he knows his place beforehand. A comfort given to Leclerc, however, not to Sainz.
The lack of talk about Sainz’s future is equally as intriguing as it is worrying. With little over a month to go before Sainz and Ferrari’s provisional deadline is up, the lack of announcement alongside Leclerc’s has just added more speculation to what the 2025 season has in store.
Sainz has asked numerous times for a minimum 2-year extension, securing his place with Ferrari until 2026. Now this seems unlikely with Hamilton in the picture.
The issues over his contract length potentially weren’t the problem. Maybe Ferrari just had their eyes on a different driver all along.
“Ferrari and myself will part ways at the end of 2024 … News about my future will be announced in due course” (Carlos Sainz, 1st February)