Lewis Hamilton on brink of sensational switch from Mercedes to Ferrari

Reports suggest that seven-time Formula One world champion set to partner Charles Leclerc at rival team in 2025

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Seven-time Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton is reported to have agreed a deal to join Ferrari in 2025, ending his spell with current team Mercedes at the conclusion of this season.

Hamilton signed new terms with Mercedes last August, ending months of speculation that he could be quitting the team he joined back in 2013.

But now the BBC and Sky Sports are reporting that the 39-year-old is on the brink of moving to Ferrari, following on from Italian and Spanish media stories that had emerged earlier on Thursday.

Hamilton is entering the first year of a new two-year deal with Mercedes worth £100 million but it is understood he is eligible to leave at the end of the season.

A move would end an extraordinarily successful partnership. The former McLaren driver won six world titles with Mercedes in the space of seven years from 2014-20.

Sky Sports also said it understood Mercedes principal Toto Wolff would brief the team before a formal announcement later on Thursday. Mercedes and Ferrari declined to comment on the speculation.

The British driver has been heavily linked with a switch to Maranello in previous years and Ferrari chairman John Elkann is a keen admirer of Hamilton.

In 2019, Ferrari's then chief executive Louis Carey Camilleri claimed at a media lunch that Hamilton has had “conversations” with Elkann about joining in the future.

If the latest reports are confirmed, Hamilton would partner Charles Leclerc from the 2025 season, replacing Spanish driver Carlos Sainz.

Ferrari recently announced a long-term contract extension for Leclerc, but Sainz's future remains in doubt, with his deal expiring after the 2024 campaign.

Hamilton has endured a miserable last few seasons at Mercedes having not tasted victory since he controversially missed out on an eighth world crown with defeat to Max Verstappen in Abu Dhabi in 2021.

Ahead of the 2023 Abu Dhabi GP in November, Hamilton admitted he could not wait for the season to end. “I don’t have any answers,” he said after qualifying 11th at Yas Marina Circuit. “It is just a very unpredictable car and it has been all year. I wouldn’t say I am relieved, but I am definitely happy it is nearly over.”

Red Bull and Verstappen have dominated F1 since with the Dutch driver winning three titles in a row while last season saw the 26-year-old take the chequered flag in 19 of the 22 races.

Hamilton finished third in the standings – behind Red Bull teammates Sergio Perez and Verstappen – but a whopping 341 points behind the world champion, while Mercedes were second in the constructors' championship – 451 points shy of Red Bull.

For the most successful driver in F1 history with 103 wins and 104 pole positions – sitting alongside Michael Schumacher with a joint-record seven world crowns – the lack of a competitive car has proven draining.

And it appears Hamilton has finally decided the time is right for rebooting his career elsewhere, albeit after one last season with the Silver Arrows which starts with the Bahrain GP on March 2.

Updated: February 01, 2024, 2:33 PM