What REALLY Attracted Lewis Hamilton To Ferrari?

Lewis Hamilton's move from Mercedes to Ferrari for the 2025 Formula 1 season has sent shockwaves through the sport, but what motivated him?

Lee Parker

By Lee Parker
Updated on February 4, 2024

Vasseur Ferrari and Hamilton Mercedes

Some claim that Lewis Hamilton‘s switch to Ferrari represents the most significant development in recent Formula 1 history. Critics argue it was a strategic move by F1 to divert attention from the controversial Andretti Cadillac issue. There are also rumours that the announcement was timed on January 31 to coincide with Ferrari’s positive shareholder updates, a strategy that boosted the company’s profile.

The news of Hamilton joining Ferrari has taken the world by storm. It’s become impossible to visit a pub, newsagents, or listen to the radio without catching snippets of conversation about this groundbreaking F1 development. This level of public engagement and chatter is unprecedented for regular F1 news, typically reserved for only the most dramatic and tragic events in the sport’s history.

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This move has sparked widespread conversation and excitement. At Formula One History, we’re thrilled at the idea of Lewis donning a red suit and driving the Ferrari number 44, even if it’s still a year away. Though hints of this shift have been circulating for some time, the official announcement has left many pondering the rationale behind Hamilton’s decision to make such a significant yet lateral career move.

Why would Hamilton make a sideways move?

Recent updates from Mercedes F1 have been promising, with reports suggesting that their new car has finally felt like a genuine F1 machine in the simulator for the first time in ages. Alongside these positive developments, there have been beneficial staff changes, not to mention Mercedes outperforming Ferrari in last year’s Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championships.

Ferrari, too, has been sharing optimistic updates. It seems a similar wave of positivity is flowing from Maranello, especially around the team, which seemed disorganised just a year ago but has now united impressively around the veteran figure of Fred, who was Lewis Hamilton’s team manager back in his Formula 2 days.

Frederic Vasseur and Lewis Hamilton GP2 2006
Lewis Hamilton won the 2006 GP2 championship with Frederic Vasseur as his team boss

So, what could possibly draw someone away in this context? Could it be the allure of a contract exceeding $100 million annually, with additional benefits? It seems unlikely that Mercedes wouldn’t offer a competitive package to retain their star World Champion.

Yet, the situation doesn’t seem to fully make sense—at least not from the current perspective. Perhaps there’s more beneath the surface that we’re not privy to yet. What could this unknown factor be? Let’s throw some speculation into the mix on what that might entail…

Perhaps this is an upgrade after all…

Lately, there have been whisperings of another potential Ferrari acquisition, even before the seismic news of Lewis Hamilton’s switch made headlines. This rumour pertains to the legendary designer who still crafts his Formula 1 cars with the traditional pencil and slide rule tools. If we were to borrow his pencil for a moment to connect the dots, could it be that Adrian Newey is also considering a move to Maranello?

Adrian Newey Drawing F1 Car
Adrian Newey still crafts his Formula 1 cars with the traditional pencil and slide rule tools

Should Adrian Newey be preparing to swap his wardrobe for Ferrari red, then Lewis Hamilton’s decision suddenly gains a whole new layer of clarity. Imagine a dream team at Ferrari, combining the talents of Hamilton and Newey, not to mention the seasoned Fred and the talented Charles Leclerc. Such a lineup could be the recipe Maranello needs to clinch its first World Championship in years. And for Lewis, what better place to achieve another record title than with Ferrari?

So, the idea of Newey joining Ferrari isn’t as far-fetched as it might seem. Who would have predicted Hamilton’s departure from Mercedes for Ferrari? It’s conceivable that the next Ferrari could be sketched out in Adrian Newey’s home workshop. Could Newey be the ultimate draw for Lewis to leave Mercedes behind?

In any case, welcome, Luigi. We eagerly anticipate the spectacle of Hamilton racing for Ferrari and can’t wait to see it!

Source: Grand Prix 247

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About The Author

Senior Editor

Lee Parker
Lee Parker

Lee is our staff writer specialising in anything technical within Formula 1 from aerodynamics to engines. Lee writes most of our F1 guides for beginners and experienced fans having followed the sports since 1991, researching and understanding how teams build the ultimate machines. Like everyone else on the team he listens to podcasts about F1 and enjoys reading biographies of former drivers.

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