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Lewis Hamilton’s move to Ferrari - The End of an Era?

JP Kurbhi, 29th February 2024

In Formula One, there have been many news that have set the championship’s past silly seasons alight, such as Sebastian Vettel’s retirement after 2022, the controversy at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in 2021, and the events that occurred during the ‘Silver War’ that took place at Mercedes between 2014 and 2016. However, all of these newsflashes seem somewhat bleak with the most recent announcement made by F1. In a shocking plot twist for the sport, Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton has announced his move to Ferrari from 2025 onward, leaving a team he has driven for since 2013.

Lewis Hamilton’s ‘blockbuster move’ to Ferrari for the 2025 season has undeniably become one of the most shocking transfers in the sport’s history.

Many people have highlighted how insane this move is. Hamilton is leaving the team that gave him 6 of his 7 Formula One World Championships, and was the set stage for Hamilton’s flawless 81 race wins throughout his 11 years with the Brackley-based Mercedes squad. So it truly came as a surprise to many when his move was announced.

Looking at the two teams and their current situations, it’s difficult to say that either of them are doing great after the 2023 season. Mercedes have just gone by their first winless year since the 2011 season when the team still ran Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher, while Ferrari struggled with many reliability issues throughout the season holding the iconic Prancing Horse back from results, with only a single win coming from Carlos Sainz at the Singapore Grand Prix, denying Red Bull’s 100% win rate.

Hamilton is set to be partnered with Monegasque driver Charles Leclerc, who has driven for the Scuderia since 2019 and has gotten a reputation for being a very skilled driver that suffers with the worst cases of bad luck, which became more consistent in the 2022 and 2023 Formula 1 seasons where Ferrari dropped their chances for a possible title in very unfortunate fashion.

Given Ferrari’s current reputation of breaking down when it matters the most, the move came out as surprising to some.

It’s interesting to also speculate on what will happen to the driver market during the 2024 season, as Hamilton’s announcement means that Carlos Sainz will have to be released in order for the seven-time world champion to get his seat at the ‘prancing horse’. But what would be some interesting deals that could be generated from this catalytic piece of news?

First of all, we’d have to think about who would even replace Hamilton at Mercedes. There are many drivers who have a chance to get that elusive spot at the Silver Arrows. The first option would likely be none other than Mick Schumacher. Without driving since the 2022 season where he was unceremoniously dropped by Haas, it would be a resurgence for the German driver, the son of another seven-time world champion, that being Michael Schumacher.

Another driver who has been touted to drive for Mercedes is, in a crazy plot twist, Carlos Sainz. The current Ferrari driver has been rumoured to swap seats with Hamilton, which would serve as another one of the most shocking moves in Formula 1 history. The Spanish driver has won a total of 2 races for the Scuderia, taken at the 2022 British Grand Prix and the 2023 Singapore Grand Prix, with this one being remarkably notable for being the only non-Red Bull win of the 2023 season.

Many former Formula 1 drivers have also had their say in this scenario, but one of the most insane ones have come from 1997 champion Jacques Villeneuve, who put forward professional disappointment dealer Fernando Alonso, who was Hamilton’s teammate back in McLaren in 2007. A move to one of Formula 1’s (consistently) strongest teams would be a bonkers move for Alonso, who is now getting close to his 50s, as he will be 43 after the 2024 season is over.

Finally, there is an option that seems very out there, but would still make sense: Esteban Ocon, a former Mercedes junior driver that is still managed by Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff, could very well have a decent chance to take home that seat at the woking based team, although he is known for not having the best relationships with his teammates which could prove a bit difficult for George Russell if the move does happen.

If Mercedes were to look at its junior driver programme, the number one contender would be Danish driver Frederik Vesti. The 22 year-old has been in Formula 2 ever since the 2022 season, and has also recently been the runner-up of said series, only losing out on the title due to a string of bad luck, and Théo Pourchaire being able to recover his season to steal the trophy. However, Italian superstar Kimi Antonelli might want to have a say on that matter, given that he will be making his Formula 2 debut having bypassed Formula 3.

A total of six drivers seem to stand a chance of getting that elusive Mercedes seat.

Even with these six main contenders for the seats, there are also some more outside options, with drivers such as current Williams driver Alexander Albon,  and current Alpine driver Pierre Gasly being touted to be on the fight for the 2025 Mercedes seat, while McLaren’s Lando Norris and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc were also rumoured, but still have active contracts.

In the meantime, we will just have to wait and see how the world of racing will shape itself for 2024, and then we will be able to find out the hotly contested role as a Mercedes driver once 2025 rolls around! It's certainly a very exciting time to be a Formula One fan, and this move could potentially end up shaping history.


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