Lewis Hamilton‘s shocking move to Ferrari for 2025 redefines everything we thought we knew about the upcoming seasons of Formula One. In one year’s time, the best-known and most successful driver in the sport will join its most historic and famous team, signed to a contract that will likely be the most lucrative in F1 history.
For Hamilton, it represents what will likely be his last roll of the dice in pursuit of his elusive and unprecedented eighth world championship. For Ferrari, it brings the biggest name in F1 to a team that already carries a burden of expectation far greater than any other on the grid. The stakes are high for both sides, but the payoff if a championship can be achieved would be astronomical.
The unfolding subplots left in the wake of Hamilton’s move only add to the drama. The 39-year-old’s departure at the end of the year will leave Mercedes with a gaping hole in its driver lineup for 2025 and little more than 12 months to fill it.
When Hamilton signed his current Mercedes contract in September, it was billed as a two-year deal, but what wasn’t advertised at the time was a release option available to Hamilton at the end of 2024. Both sides seemed to go into the deal expecting to remain together until the end of 2025, but in the space of five months, something changed.
A Mercedes contract was once the most sought-after piece of paper in F1, but a drive with the former champions now looks less appealing in the knowledge that Hamilton, after two winless seasons, made his decision to leave even before the team had finished bolting his 2024 car together. In George Russell, Hamilton’s current teammate who also signed a contract until 2025, Mercedes always had something of a succession plan in place, but replacing the commercial appeal of a name known around the world, such as Hamilton’s, is a seemingly impossible task.
Zoom back out to the wider F1 picture for a moment, and if there was any danger that Max Verstappen‘s recent dominance might make the sport seem boring, it now has an unfolding storyline that is almost impossible to ignore.
The enduring appeal of Ferrari
Bogus rumours of Hamilton holding contract talks with Ferrari have been an almost annual occurrence for several years. It’s what made the actual news such a shock when it first broke via Italian outlets on Thursday morning and…