April 19, 2024
Automotive Sport

Lewis Hamilton leaves Mercedes in shocking move to Ferrari

F1 icon departs from German carmaker after 11 years

In a stunning turn of events, Formula 1 legend Lewis Hamilton has declared his departure from Mercedes, marking the end of a remarkable 11-year association with the team.

The seven-time world champion, known for his unprecedented success with Mercedes, revealed that the upcoming season would be his final stint with the German outfit before embarking on a new chapter with Ferrari.

Hamilton wrote on his Facebook page: ‘It’s been a crazy few days which have been filled with a whole range of emotions.

‘But as you all now know, after an incredible 11 years at Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team, the time has come for me to start a new chapter in my life, and I will be joining Scuderia Ferrari in 2025.

‘I feel incredibly fortunate, after achieving things with Mercedes that I could only have dreamed of as a kid, that I now have the chance to fulfil another childhood dream. Driving in Ferrari red.

‘Mercedes has been a huge part of my life since I was 13 years old, so this decision has been the hardest I’ve ever had to make. I’m incredibly proud of all that we’ve achieved together and I’m very grateful for the hard work and dedication of everyone I have worked with over the years and of course Toto, for his friendship, guidance and leadership. Together we have won titles, broken records and become the most successful Driver-Team partnership in F1 history. And, of course, I cannot forget Niki, who was a huge supporter and who I still miss every day.

‘I must also share my huge appreciation to the whole of the Mercedes-Benz board and everyone at the company in Germany and around the world for supporting me over these 26 years.

‘But the time is right to make a change and take on a new challenge. I still remember the feeling of taking a leap of faith into the unknown when I first joined Mercedes in 2013. I know some people didn’t understand it at the time, but I was right to make the move then and its the feeling I have again now. I’m excited to see what I can bring to this new opportunity and what we can do together.

‘However, right now, I’m not thinking about 2025. My focus is on the upcoming season and getting back out on track with Mercedes. I am more driven than ever; I am fitter and more focused than ever, and I want to help Mercedes win once again. I am 100% committed to the job I need to do and determined to end my partnership with the team on a high.

‘Thank you to all of you who have been on this journey with me. You have all lifted me up as I chase my dreams, and I hope I can continue to make you proud. As always, sending you my love and positive energy.’

Contract starting in 2025

Ferrari, one of the most iconic names in Formula 1, confirmed on X that Hamilton would join the team on a multi-year contract starting in 2025.

Fans wasted no time in expressing their approval, as evidenced by a staggering 176,000 likes within the first 40 minutes of the announcement.

The move is expected to see Hamilton replace Carlos Sainz at the Italian powerhouse, with Sainz’s contract set to expire at the end of 2024.

Ferrari’s other driver, Charles Leclerc, recently inked a new long-term deal with the team.

The decision to leave Mercedes comes after Hamilton’s two-year contract extension last summer, valued at £100 million, keeping him with the team until the end of the 2024 season.

Mercedes acknowledged that Hamilton triggered a release clause in the contract, signifying the end of an extraordinary partnership that yielded six world titles between 2014 and 2020.

Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff praised the successful partnership between Hamilton and the team, acknowledging that such collaborations come to a natural end.

He said: “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 racing to deliver a strong 2024.”

Biggest driver-signing deal

Hamilton’s move to Ferrari has been termed the biggest driver-signing deal in F1 history, prompting Mercedes to search for a worthy successor actively.

YouGov fan base analysis

According to YouGov’s Global Fan Profiles, Hamilton enjoys massive global support, with 44% of British F1 fans declaring allegiance to the British racing icon.

Notably, a quarter of Singaporean F1 fans, 18% of UAE fans, 13% of Indian fans, and 11% of American fans also claim to be Hamilton supporters.

Meanwhile, Ferrari continues to command a significant fanbase, with 51% of UAE F1 fans expressing their support for the team, closely followed by Indians at 46%.

Singapore and the United States also boast substantial Ferrari support, with 41% and 29% of fans declaring allegiance to the iconic Italian outfit, respectively.

As the 2024 season approaches, the F1 landscape is poised for a significant shakeup with Hamilton’s move to Ferrari, setting the stage for an exhilarating racing season.

Hamilton continues to leave an indelible mark on the world of motorsports. Born on January 7, 1985, in Stevenage, England, Hamilton’s journey from karting prodigy to seven-time Formula 1 World Champion has been extraordinary.

Debuting in F1 with McLaren in 2007, Hamilton quickly asserted himself as a force to be reckoned with, clinching the championship in only his second season.

His relentless pursuit of excellence and unparalleled skill have made him one of the most successful and celebrated drivers in the sport’s history.

A trailblazer

Beyond the racetrack, Hamilton has become a trailblazer for diversity and inclusion in Formula 1, using his platform to advocate for social and environmental issues.

As a vocal supporter of causes like racial equality and climate change, he transcends the boundaries of sportsmanship, inspiring millions around the globe.

Hamilton’s impact extends beyond the confines of the race circuit, redefining what it means to be a modern-day racing icon.

With each victory and off-track endeavour, he continues to shape the narrative of Formula 1, leaving an enduring legacy for future generations.

Featured image: Lewis Hamilton joins Ferrari on a multi-year contract starting in 2025. Image: Lewis Hamilton

    Middle East News 247

    Middle East News 247

    Middle East News 247 delivers the latest business and lifestyle news and essential infotainment for, and from the Middle East region, with key focus on the GCC nations: United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, and Oman.
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