Lewis Hamilton has the most grand prix wins ever at 103, has the most Formula 1 poles ever at 104, and is tied with Michael Schumacher for the most F1 driver's championships at seven. Scuderia Ferrari has 242 wins, 249 poles, and 16 constructor's championships of its own. In 2025, the most successful driver and most storied team in the history of single-seat racing are teaming up.
Hamilton raced for six seasons at the McLaren team that brought him into the sport before leaving the team more than a decade ago. Hamilton has run 11 more years at Mercedes, and 2024 will make an even 12. Until 2022, he had won in every season he contested. He has finished worse than fourth in the driver's championship on just three occasions over 17 years and has never finished worse than sixth. He brings the single best resume any racing driver has ever put together to Ferrari, joining with a program that has not won a driver's title since Kimi Raikkonen beat out Hamilton by one point in his 2007 rookie season.
Ferrari has a long history of big ticket signings, but the records of those drivers are mixed once they actually don the team's famous shade of red. Michael Schumacher thrived, winning five of his seven titles in a Ferrari. Kimi Raikkonen won his lone title in red, but he was pushed out of the team shortly afterward and spent most of his time at Ferrari as a second driver to other stars later in his career. Despite many race wins, Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel did not win a championship in a Ferrari.
For a driver of Lewis Hamilton's caliber, the barometer of success will be whether or not he can win a championship at Ferrari. That would most likely be his eighth, but Hamilton will have one more year with Mercedes to win another with Toto Wolff's squad.
Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team and Lewis Hamilton will part ways at the end of the 2024 season. Lewis has activated a release option in the contract announced last year.
— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) February 1, 2024
With Hamilton leaving Mercedes through a release clause in his recently-signed contract extension, the most successful driver-team pairing in the history of the sport is over. Mercedes has a potential future leader in George Russell and an open second seat that will immediately become the most desired seat in auto racing. Known available free agents include Fernando Alonso, Alex Albon, and soon-to-be former Ferrari driver Sainz, but Ferrari made a splash by signing a driver thought to be under contract for 2025 and Mercedes could shock the world with a similar move, too.
In a statement released by Mercedes, Hamilton says "I have had an amazing 11 years with this team and I'm so proud of what we have achieved together. 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 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."
Earlier this week, the extensions to Charles Leclerc and Lando Norris suggested that the 2025 Formula 1 free agent market would be less chaotic than expected. Lewis Hamilton's move is not only the biggest single transaction in Formula 1 since last time Hamilton changed teams, it opens the door for the silly season to end all silly seasons. Over the next year, the Formula 1 grid will completely transform.
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