Shockwaves have been sent around the F1 paddock this morning as a series of strong reports have linked Lewis Hamilton to Ferrari for 2025.
We’ve heard it before, but this time, the rumors seem to have legs. Multiple respected journalists with access inside Formula One have indicated that Lewis Hamilton, the seven-time World Driver’s Champion, is set to leave the Mercedes F1 team for Ferrari in 2025.
Jonathan Noble of Autosport claims that, although a deal is not yet formally signed, it is at an advanced stage. So advanced, in fact, that it may be finalized behind closed doors by the end of the week!
It wasn’t that long ago that Hamilton signed a new deal with the team he has treated as family since 2013, with the Brit slated to drive for Mercedes in both the 2024 and 2025 campaigns. However, it appears as though the 2025 season must have been an option rather than an obligation, either that or he intends to buy himself out of the final year of his current deal.
Regardless, Ferrari’s interest in Hamilton has been long-standing, but until now the Brit has always stuck by Mercedes. So, for this move to go ahead, Hamilton must have very recently lost faith in Merc’s ability to turn its form around. Throughout the team’s decline since the start of 2022, Hamilton has been adamant that he trusted the Mercedes engineers to get on top of the car concept and restore themselves back to victory contention. However, perhaps these strong links to Ferrari are an indication that he now feels his trust was misplaced.
Either way, should this deal go ahead, we’re unlikely to get official confirmation until much later in the year. Until then, it’ll be very interesting to see how the 2024 Ferrari compares to the 2024 Mercedes.
The domino effect
If Ferrari are really going to sign Hamilton, what does that mean for the Italian team’s current driver line-up? Well, this shock news comes at a very interesting time. Only last week, Ferrari reached a deal to extend Charles Leclerc’s contract on a multi-year basis. However, despite Carlos Sainz Jr’s public wishes to re-sign with the team, the absence of movement on Ferrari’s behalf has spoken volumes. As such, if Hamilton signs for Ferrari, he’ll certainly replace Sainz rather than Leclerc.
If further rumors are to be believed, that would then pave the way for Sainz to join Stake in 2025 and bed into the team before it evolves into Audi in 2026. As for who takes the newly-vacant Mercedes seat, well that’s anyone’s guess, however Alexander Albon is likely to be in the conversation if he repeats his 2023 form again this year. If Albon does make the step up, that would then create room for Mercedes junior driver Kimi Antonelli to make his F1 debut with Williams, who are a Mercedes engine customer and are led by former Mercedes man James Vowles. For now though, all of that remains conjecture.
Will he, won’t he?
So, what do you think? Has Hamilton’s time with Mercedes really come to an end? Is Ferrari the best place for him to see out his Formula One career? Well, there’s certainly something poetic about it. Hamilton is one of the greatest drivers to have ever graced Formula One, so it would be fitting for him to have a swansong with F1’s most iconic team.
That said, by the time the 2025 season rolls around, Hamilton will be 40 years old, so it’d be asking a lot for him to replicate the success he enjoyed earlier in his career. Mind you, Fernando Alonso is currently proving that age is just a number, so it wouldn’t be beyond the realms of possibility that an equally fit athlete like Hamilton could still do a job at the top of the sport in his forties.
As they say in the trade, watch this space…
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