Mercedes Announces Departure of Seven-Time F1 Champion

After an 11-year tenure with Mercedes, Lewis Hamilton is set to depart at the conclusion of the 2024 season, moving to Ferrari.

Mark Phelan

By Mark Phelan
Updated on February 4, 2024

Lewis Hamilton and Charles Leclerc Celebrate on Podium

Mercedes has disclosed that Lewis Hamilton has exercised a release clause, paving his path to join Ferrari for the 2025 Formula 1 season.

On Thursday evening, Ferrari made an official announcement stating that Hamilton, the seven-time world champion, will join their team on a multi-year contract starting next season.

READ MORE: Sainz’s Future Following Hamilton’s Shock Move to Ferrari

“The Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team and Lewis Hamilton will part ways at the end of the 2024 season,” read a Mercedes statement.

“Lewis has activated a release option in the contract announced last August and this season will therefore be his last driving for the Silver Arrows.”

Hamilton added: “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 per cent committed to delivering the best performance I can this season and making my last year with the Silver Arrows, one to remember.”

Hamilton is set to join forces with Charles Leclerc at Ferrari, creating a high-profile pairing that combines two of Formula 1’s leading talents and most renowned figures. This move places Carlos Sainz in the position of seeking a new spot on the grid, as his contract concludes at the season’s end.

“Following today’s news, Scuderia Ferrari and myself will part ways at the end of 2024,” said a statement from Sainz.

“We still have a long season ahead of us and, like always, I will give my absolute best for the team and for the Tifosi all around the world. News about my future will be announced in due course.”

Wolff: Hamilton’s choice respected

Having celebrated his 39th birthday in January and approaching 40 as he embarks on his new journey in Italy, Hamilton leaves behind a legacy of six world titles out of seven with Mercedes, a feat achieved since his move from McLaren in 2013. This era has seen both Hamilton and Mercedes set new benchmarks in F1 history.

With Hamilton’s departure, Mercedes is set to look for a successor, with George Russell secured in his position until the conclusion of 2025.

“In terms of a team-driver pairing, our relationship with Lewis has become the most successful the sport has seen, and that’s something we can look back on with pride,” said Mercedes boss Toto Wolff.

“Lewis will always be an important part of Mercedes motorsport history. However, we knew our partnership would come to a natural end at some point, and that day has now come.

“We accept Lewis’s decision to seek a fresh challenge, and our opportunities for the future are exciting to contemplate. But for now, we still have one season to go, and we are focused on going racing to deliver a strong 2024.”

Hamilton’s long-awaited union with Ferrari

The much-anticipated alliance between Formula 1’s greatest driver and its most iconic team, a subject of sporadic speculation over the years, seemed to have slipped away after Hamilton signed a two-year extension with Mercedes last August, a move that was expected to carry him to just shy of his 41st birthday.

Yet, in a turn of events that caught many by surprise, the narrative has dramatically shifted.

While Hamilton has always expressed admiration for Ferrari and its storied legacy, even owning some of its road cars, he had previously stated he would be satisfied if his illustrious career concluded without ever racing in the iconic red of motorsport’s most storied team.

Hamilton’s ties with Mercedes trace back to 1998 when he joined McLaren, at that time partly owned by Mercedes, as a young talent at the age of 13. In a 2019 statement, Hamilton reflected on the significance of this long-standing relationship and the value he placed on it: “when you are part of Mercedes you are part of a family for a lifetime, provided you stay with them”.

But he also caveated that by adding: “Loyalty is a very, very key part but if there’s a point in my life where I decide that I want a change then that [joining Ferrari] could potentially be an option.”

Source: Sky Sports F1

Seen in:

About The Author

Senior Editor

Mark Phelan
Mark Phelan

Mark is a staff writer specialising in the history of Formula 1 races. Mark researches most of our historic content from teams to drivers and races. He has followed Formula 1 since 1988, and admits to having a soft spot for British drivers from James Hunt and Nigel Mansell to Lando Norris. He loves a great F1 podcast and has read pretty much every drivers biography.

Latest Reads