Ferrari move a chance to ‘fulfill childhood dream’ – Hamilton

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Lewis Hamilton says his choice to leave Mercedes to race for Ferrari will allow him to he could fulfil a childhood dream.

News that the seven-times world champion would join Ferrari, F1’s most successful team, in 2025 stunned the sporting world on Thursday.

Speaking publicly for the first time through a post on social media, Hamilton said the decision to leave Mercedes for Ferrari was “the hardest I’ve ever had to make” in his career.

“It’s been a crazy few days which have been filled with a whole range of emotions,” Hamilton said.

“After an incredible 11 years at Mercedes 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.”

The 2024 season will be Hamilton’s 12th and final campaign with Mercedes, having joined the team in 2013. In that time together, they have won 82 grands prix, taken 78 pole positions, had 148 podium finishes and won six drivers and eight constructors’ championships. They are the most successful driver and team combination in the sport’s history.

“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,” Hamilton said.

“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 [Lauda] who was a huge supporter and who I still miss everyday.

“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.”

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Hamilton believes “the time is right to make a change and take on a new challenge” by joining Ferrari on a multi-year deal from 2025, likening his move to the one he made to Mercedes from McLaren in 2013.

“I still remember the feeling of taking a leap of faith into the unknown when I first joined Mercedes in 2013,” he said. “I know some people didn’t understand it at the time but I was right to make the move then and it’s 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.”

With his move confirmed, Hamilton insists he is “100% committed” to making his final season with Mercedes a successful one.

“Right now, I’m not thinking about 2025,” he said. “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 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.”

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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42 comments on “Ferrari move a chance to ‘fulfill childhood dream’ – Hamilton”

  1. Did he have this dream before or after his famous conversation with Ron Dennis?

    1. does it matter? is he not allowed to dream?
      did he need written approval from Ron Dennis to have this dream?

      1. Settle down.

    2. Maybe it was more of an epiphany….the red light my son go to the red light

      1. If only he’d done that in the pit lane, Montreal in 2008.

    3. lol, this was my very first thought. “Sir, I’d like to drive for McLaren some day. Then, after that sir, I’d like to move to Ferrari to cap off a glorious career.”

  2. In recent years, I’ve been an “anyone but Hamilton” fan but this whole move to Ferrari has really made me realise, it’s not Hamilton I dislike… It’s Toto and Mercedes. I’m really excited about seeing him in a Ferrari and will be cheering him on towards hopefully getting some wins in ’25.

    1. why were you an anyone but hamilton fan?

      1. It’s a gut feeling rather than a conscious decision but I think it’s a combination of things – as I said, the announcement he’s moving to Ferrari has made me realise it was primarily because he was the lead driver for Mercedes and I didn’t want them to win. All the politicking, the pretending they weren’t dominating when they clearly were, the way their fans were more like fans of football clubs than fans of F1… Loads of other reasons as well.

        It wasn’t always that way with Hamilton – the most I’ve ever celebrated an F1 result was him winning in 2008. I was jumping around my living room!

        As soon as I read he was going to Ferrari, it was like a switch had been flicked. I’m pretty sure I’ll be part of “Team Lewis” in 2025 and as someone who has been supporting Verstappen for the past few years, it totally caught me off guard.

        1. I also look forward to seeing Hamilton outside this toxic environment and to discover to what extent the rubbing off on him will stick or resolve.

        2. “their fans”

          There might not be a whole lot of those, as the fan surveys from the early 2010s suggest. The enormous increase in Mercedes’ share of “favourite team” answers follows first Hamilton’s arrival and then their shared successes. A lot of #TeamLH folks are sure to follow him to Ferrari which should prove… interesting.

    2. Pete, I know how you feel. Back when Schuey was at Renault/Benneton (I cannot remember now which it was), he was impressive, but somehow I’d always find myself rooting for someone else, and the antics of his team didn’t help either. I remember when he had the infamous collision with Damon Hill, it really got to me the way his team’s pit wall were cheering as it became obvious that Hill’s car was damaged by the incident. O know they’d just won the WDC, but cheering at the damage Schuey had caused without any sense of guilt about it seemed so wrong. But then Schuey went to Ferrari, and I wasn’t a Ferrari fan, but it was so interesting to see a top driver go to a struggling team and be part of turning it around into the dominant force in F1. Those early years at Ferrari were some of the most interesting seasons for a long time.

  3. Why can’t John Elkan Exercercize Ferrari’s Veto to let Andretti in. TI BACIO I PIEDI

    1. Jim, a veto can only reject a decision, not impose one. The question is “Can Andretti join F1?” and if the answer is yes, a power of veto can overturn it and maintain the status quo. But if the answer is no, we’ll continue as we are, then the power of veto does not apply.

  4. I wonder if he’ll feel freed-up to take more chances on track.

    1. …this season.

  5. My wife is a WHACK-JOB Lewis fan. I assumed she would start buying Ferrari gear now the same way she switched from McLaren to Merc back in 2014. But when I told her Lewis was going to Ferrari, she just got this grimace on her face and said: “Oh God….I don’t think I can wear Ferrari gear”.
    I couldn’t have been more surprised if the sun came up in the West today. I’m betting she’ll come around, but that was unexpected as I was always a bit of a closet Ferrari fan and looking forward to this. Hmmmm….

    1. Maybe red ist just not her color

    2. Honestly, wearing red anything almost always looks ridiculous. And wearing Ferrari gear usually looks even cheesier.

      1. Like it is with all F1 merch. But then, who cares?

  6. He wanted to create a “permanent” ambassador function within Mercedes when he received enough money.
    So his loyalty can be easely bought.
    He vented a lot of critism on the 2022/23 car and only one engineer agreed with him ( changed to Ferrari also)
    He tried the new contender on the simulator and was not impressed. Obvious his input was not visible in the design.
    He is organising his retirement and want to do that with a great teamname.
    His friendship with Totot came to and end when lewis was not heard about his wingman.
    He cleaned up his support staff in preparation for a move.
    He chased his childhood dream he suddenly remembered.

    1. Or, for the first time in Hamilton’s career, the chances of being competitive at Ferrari are about equal as at Mercedes so it was a now-or-never moment and he went for it.

      I’m sure Hamilton is genuine when he says he wanted to race for Ferrari (who doesn’t?!), but obviously not at all costs. I’m sure everyone has plans or dreams that they either put off or prioritize because it feels or seems like the right idea in a particular circumstance or at a particular time, and you can’t do everything at once. But circumstances can change, and in Hamilton’s case it wouldn’t have made much sense for him to leave Mercedes at a time when Ferrari was a big step down. That seems fair enough.

    2. Rumour is that his ambassador function would only kick in at Mercedes when he’s 50. Presumably not what he wanted.
      As for ‘buying’ his loyalty, how many billions to Ferrari’s stock rise by after the move was announced? Like many black stars of his generation, he’s well aware of his commercial value to companies.
      Above all, though, I see this as a move by someone who wants to focus on racing again. The Ferrari dream is all about that, the exhilaration on track. It also means he can race this year without having to worry all the time about ‘car development.’ Hamilton has always loved the actual racing (he hates tests, simulator work and even practice sessions). Why would any of us who follow Formula 1 be cynical about that?

      1. @david-br

        As for ‘buying’ his loyalty, how many billions to Ferrari’s stock rise by after the move was announced?

        The surge in the stock exchange was largely attributed to Ferrari’s exceptional performance in 2023, a revelation made on the same day as the announcement of Hamilton joining the team. It wasn’t a mere coincidence; I believe it was perfectly timed. This observation doesn’t diminish Hamilton’s value and the positive impact he will undoubtedly bring to Ferrari, an aspect I’ve discussed extensively on this proper forum.

        However, it’s important to note that the increase in Ferrari’s stock values was predominantly tied to their annual report. The car company, except for the COVID period, has consistently broken its own records since 2010. Ferrari’s stock value has experienced exponential growth and has shown no signs of decline since its introduction to the stock exchange in 2014. Even Porsche doesn’t come close to Ferrari with that regard.

      2. “how many billions to Ferrari’s stock rise by after the move was announced”

        You mean: how many billions to Ferrari’s stock rise by after the published their record 2023 financial figures on Friday morning.

        Bad journalism and hype trains make stupid stuff go round the world.

        “In a recent earnings call, Ferrari (ticker: RACE) CEO Benedetto Vigna announced the company’s record financial achievements for the year 2023. The luxury car manufacturer saw revenues soar to approximately EUR 6 billion, with an EBITDA of EUR 2.28 billion, marking a record margin of 38.2%. Net profit surpassed EUR 1 billion, a margin of 21%, and the company generated an industrial free cash flow of around EUR 930 million.”

      3. The stock price had absolutely nothing to do with Lewis. No wonder voters are so easily tricked. “See x just happened due to my opposition!”

  7. His childhood dream was to earn 100 million a year?

    Already looking forward to the righteous instagram posts about the ‘disadvantaged’.

    1. Supposedly 20 million of that figure goes to Mission 44 (his diversity foundation) along with a Ferrari commitment to various projects, backed by a €250 million fund.
      OK, you can go back to moaning now.

      1. That’s still only a fraction of the taxes he’d pay had he not, like most of his colleagues also do, fled to a tax haven. Taxes that, in most Western countries, predominantly benefit the ‘disadvantaged’, from healthcare to education, and public housing to public transportation.

        His initiative is nice, but it’s a bit comical to hear Hamilton echo US senator Sanders when he says that nobody needs to be a billionaire. Sure, but having tens or even hundreds of millions is not meaningfully different. Its a bit of a distraction.

        1. Michael, do you know anyone who pays more taxes than they need to? Do you know any business or organisation which willingly pays more tax than it needs to? Do you yourself pay more tax than you need to. Unless you are asking the Inland Revenue to take an extra 10% because you want to be patriotic then you really have no business criticising others for their totally legal tax affairs.

          Hamilton does pay UK taxes, and is somewhere in the top 5,000 UK tax payers. He earns his money in 19 different countries, and pays taxes in each of those countries. What is the problem with that?

  8. José Lopes da Silva
    3rd February 2024, 21:54

    I’m totally in favor of this, for whole and every reason. Big drivers wanting to drive for Ferrari, and Ferrari chasing them, is what makes sense.
    Even considering that Ferrari chasing champions is an historical novelty, as Enzo Ferrari thought like Frank Williams and wanted to be his car winning, rather than the driver. As far as I know, the only (already) F1 champions he ever hired were Farina and Fangio (and Andretti). The tradition of Ferrari being the established team to which Top Champions go to have a shot starts after his passing away, with Prost in 1990, then with the serious Senna rumours, then with Schumacher. But given Ferrari’s place in F1 folklore, it feels totally right.

    Anyway, I still think that even more remote AND exciting than this would be Red Bull dropping Perez for Alonso for 2024, in the name of giving F1 something truly remarkable competition to watch and unfold.

  9. Sounds like F1 needed strong news after Andretti fiasco.

    In any case 1 title with Ferrari against Max would cement him as GOAT.

    Meanwhile another title at Mercedes might not do it.

    1. @jureo I doubt they’re connected (the Andretti fiasco and the announcement of Hamilton’s move).
      Winning a title in the Ferrari would be against Verstappen probably, but also against Leclerc definitely, possibly his strongest (or at least fastest) team mate ever – and at the age of 40. It would be superlative.

      1. Yes, should be very interesting to see how hamilton and leclerc compare at the same team, he already surprised me by comprehensively outperforming russell.

  10. Quite annoying to read so many replies with a negative tone (in this and other topics). Implying and assuming, trying to put as much a negative spin on the story as possible. I try to skip everything ‘Hamilton’ off track, not my thing, not a fan so to say. But come on, give the guy a break. The cards are dealt in a way that his move makes sense. If he ever wanted to pull that trigger, now is a good time. Especially if he thinks Mercedes aren’t going to turn things around.
    And remarks about his pay, he has earned his price. And if teams are willing to pay it, it means it’s the right price..
    Don’t be sour, be happy. This move alone is making ’25 already more interesting then ’24

  11. This move to Ferrari reminds everyone how Hamilton is still a racer at his core, and not afraid to get out of his comfort zone. He’ll have a big challenge next to Leclerc, who’s perhaps the fastest teammate he’ll ever face. But that didn’t deter him from moving to Ferrari. Respect.

    1. @André
      I’m not convinced. You might be right but you could easily flip it around. You could argue he has given up on another title so he goes to his childhood wallpaper team. He’s going to Kimi it

  12. Mercedes has been a huge part of my life since I was 13 years old”

    Back when Ron Dennis was footing the bills for your parts? Well, Maca were running Merc lumps. Bit of a stretch, though.

  13. Mark in Florida
    4th February 2024, 14:38

    Karma has hit Toto right between the eyes. He ran Ross out of Mercedes with his underhanded tactics now its his turn to take a huge dose of disappointment. So funny to me personally. Lewis might thrive at Ferrari who knows. He’s a marque name and will pull the attention and investments from outside sponsors so there is that.
    He’s on the retirement train now cruising into the sunset.

    1. Brawn literally handed him a world beating car and Toto, who had basically nothing to do with the car or the organization that put it together, then smugly acted like “can you believe how clever I am” for years on end. Deez is what vat ve do. We are Mercedes. We old ourselvz to de highust standads!

      Paddy Lowe was the other weasel who came in and got unwarranted adulation. Then he went to Williams and promptly failed (as in, failed to improve any aspect of the operation).

  14. He ran Ross out of Mercedes with his underhanded tactics

    Ross Brawn found he was not happy working under the Merc hierarchy but it is a bit of a stretch to claim Wolff was using underhand tactics to get rid of him. They paid Brawn about 100m in total for his ownership of the team so naturally they wanted to run it their way.

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