The most surprising development of the Formula 1 off-season, reported by RACER this morning, was confirmed Thursday evening in the UK and Italy with announcements by the Ferrari and Mercedes teams.
Ferrari announced it has signed Lewis Hamilton from 2025 on a multi-year contract, as Mercedes confirms the seven-time world champion activated a break clause to leave.
Hamilton signed a two-year extension last summer but will depart Mercedes at the end of this season, with the team stating he “activated a release option in the contract announced last August and this season will therefore be his last driving for the Silver Arrows,” The move brings to an end an 11-year partnership that has yielded six drivers’ championships and made Hamilton the most successful driver in terms of wins in Formula 1 history.
Soon after the Mercedes announcement, Ferrari issued a statement that simply read: “Scuderia Ferrari is pleased to announce that Lewis Hamilton will be joining the team in 2025, on a multi-year contract.”
In confirming his departure, Hamilton said it was an extremely tough decision to leave Mercedes after so long with the company on top of the success with its F1 team.
“I have had an amazing 11 years with this team and I’m so proud of what we have achieved together,” Hamilton said. “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 [Wolff, team principal and CEO] 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.”
Hamilton will replace Carlos Sainz at Ferrari, with Charles Leclerc having signed a long-term contract extension last week.