Formula 1 was recently shaken by unexpected news: Lewis Hamilton, the 7-time world champion, is leaving Mercedes and signing a multi-year contract with Ferrari in 2025! Ferrari’s stock surged by 13% in one day after this news! Social media was flooded with images of Hamilton in a red uniform, which has sparked widespread discussions about who stands to gain or lose from this story. So, let’s delve into the analysis.
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At first glance, the Formula 1 offseason appeared to proceed as expected, with everyone gearing up for the upcoming season, teams gradually unveiling the dates for their cars’ livery presentations, and fans eagerly awaiting the new season of Drive to Survive on Netflix. However, on January 31, Formula 1 delivered unexpected news by rejecting Andretti Global’s application to participate in the World Championship for 2025-2026, citing doubts about the new team’s potential to enhance the championship’s value.
While media outlets and fans dissected this decision, rumours began circulating on February 1 about Lewis Hamilton’s potential contract signing with Ferrari in 2025. Speculation quickly escalated, inundating social media with Hamilton’s imagery in a Ferrari uniform, setting the stage for an evening of anticipated revelations. As scheduled, Mercedes initially confirmed the impending split with Hamilton at the end of the 2024 season, followed promptly by the driver’s personal statement:
Toto Wolff, Team Principal & CEO, commented:
In terms of 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; Lewis will always be an important part of Mercedes motorsport history. However, we knew our partnership would come to a natural end eventually, 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.
Lewis 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 where I grew up, so deciding 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 take 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 this season and making my last year with the Silver Arrows one to remember.
Subsequently, Ferrari issued a comment validating the swirling rumours:
Ferrari is pleased to announce that Lewis Hamilton will join Scuderia Ferrari in 2025 on a multi-year contract,” the company’s official website read.
It turned out to be true. The news just poured in from everywhere! And Ferrari’s shares on the New York Stock Exchange rose by 13% on the background of these events!
Unexpected news for the racing world. Hamilton and Mercedes shared a rich history, making his move to Ferrari seem almost unbelievable. Hamilton’s contributions to the team, including his partnership with Toto Wolff, were substantial. Ferrari, in turn, has Charles Leclerc, with whom they also signed a multi-year contract. As for Carlos Sainz Jr., it became clear that 2024 would be his last year at Ferrari.
Indeed, sometime later, Sainz Jr. announced:
Following today’s news, Scuderia Ferrari and I will part ways at the end of 2024. We still have a long season ahead of us, and like always, I will give my absolute best for the team and the Tifosi worldwide. News about my future will be announced in due course.
On the one hand, it is strange that this was announced a year before the season, given that the drivers still need to spend a whole year driving their current teams’ cars, which will undoubtedly be difficult psychologically. But, on the other hand, the teams know that the talented driver, Sainz Jr., will be free and can be invited to take a seat on another team. The question, of course, is which one? And Mercedes still has an empty seat, for which the fight will undoubtedly also begin. Well, it will be exciting to watch this.
What are the pros and cons of these events, maybe?
Addressing the latter part first, Mercedes undoubtedly stands to lose significantly from Hamilton’s departure. They have been building a team around Hamilton for so many years! And now, Lewis’s decision may lead to the idea that he needs to figure out the car and the team. When Formula 1 switched to a new regulation in 2022, Mercedes suffered the most in the leadership group: the team needed clarification about the concept of the car and struggled with the problem of bouncing on the straights for a long time. There was also a version from the former top engineer of the team, Loic Serra, who shared Hamilton’s scepticism about the concept of Mercedes cars from previous years. It is noteworthy that Serra is also going to join Ferrari in 2025. But these are only guesses and versions of the reasons, but perhaps everything will become more apparent in a year.
Next, the Ferrari drivers. It is interesting how Leclerc feels about becoming Hamilton’s teammate, foreseeing a potential rivalry for the top spot. At the beginning of his career, a very young Hamilton mentally beat Fernando Alonso, already a two-time world champion!
Sainz Jr. finds himself in a situation similar to the one that happened to him at Renault a couple of years ago. But now, at least, this is known much earlier, and the driver has time. Whether he will take Hamilton’s seat in Mercedes is very interesting. If not Mercedes, then which team?
As for the winners, Ferrari undoubtedly emerges triumphant in this situation. The team showcased its influence and value, and the brand’s shares, as already mentioned above, increased by 13%. Hamilton may be able to unite the team and win the eighth title with them. It would be legendary! By the way, in 2021, the Briton said that he would like to play for Ferrari and admitted it was a dream of his that, at that point, had not materialised in his career.
For many years, when I came to Monza, walking next to the fans, I could hear them saying, ‘Come to Ferrari!’ This warmed my heart, but amazingly, I have never driven a Ferrari in so many years.
Who else can be a plus here? This is George Russell. After all, he has an excellent opportunity to prove himself even more, and the team’s attention will most likely be focused on him. The question, of course, is who will become his teammate.
Ultimately, Formula 1 emerges as the ultimate victor, with the global sensation generating great hype.
Only three drivers have competed for Ferrari and Mercedes in the history of Formula 1: Juan Manuel Fangio, Piero Taruffi, and Michael Schumacher. Hamilton’s addition to this illustrious list heralds a historic moment, with the possibility of securing an eighth title for Ferrari igniting the imagination!