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Lewis Hamilton Makes Shocking F1 Move from Mercedes to Ferrari: 'The Time is Right'

The celebrated Formula One driver announced that he'll be departing his longtime team at the end of the 2024 season

<p>Stephane Cardinale - Corbis/Corbis via Getty</p> Lewis Hamilton attends the Dior Fall 2023 Menswear Show

Stephane Cardinale - Corbis/Corbis via Getty

Lewis Hamilton attends the Dior Fall 2023 Menswear Show

Lewis Hamilton is shifting gears from Mercedes to join Ferrari for the 2025 Formula One season.

The decorated F1 driver, 39, made the announcement alongside Mercedes on Thursday, when the Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team revealed that it would be parting ways with Hamilton at the conclusion of the 2024 season.

Scuderia Ferrari then shared in a Thursday statement that the driver will "be joining the team in 2025, on a multi-year contract."

“I have had an amazing 11 years with this team and I'm so proud of what we have achieved together," Hamilton said in the statement shared by Mercedes, which he added "has been part of my life since I was 13 years old."

"It's a place where I have grown up, so making the decision to leave was one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make," Hamilton continued. "But the time is right for me to take this step and I'm excited to be taking on a new challenge."

Hamilton also noted that he "will be forever grateful for the incredible support of my Mercedes family, especially [CEO Toto Wolff] for his friendship and leadership and I want to finish on a high together."

"I am 100% committed to delivering the best performance I can this season and making my last year with the Silver Arrows, one to remember," he concluded.

BRYN LENNON/POOL/AFP via Getty Lewis Hamilton
BRYN LENNON/POOL/AFP via Getty Lewis Hamilton

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According to Mercedes, Hamilton "activated a release option in the contract announced last August," effectively ending "a 17-year long relationship in F1 with Mercedes-Benz and an 11-year long partnership with the works team."

Hamilton previously signed a two-year contract with Mercedes last summer.

“In terms of a 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," Mercedes Team Principal and CEO Toto Wolff said in a statement.

"However, we knew our partnership would come to a natural end at some point, and that day has now come," he added. "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.”

The seven-time world champion is expected to be replacing Ferarri's Carlos Sainz in 2025 as a result of the decision. “Following today’s news, Scuderia Ferrari and myself will part ways at the end of 2024,” Sainz wrote in a social media statement of his own this week. “We still have a long season ahead of us and, like always, I will give my absolute best for the team and for the tifosi all around the world.”

Related: F1's Lewis Hamilton on His Bond with Tom Brady and Serena Williams: 'It Can Be Lonely at the Top' (Exclusive)

After news broke of Hamilton's Mercedes departure, ESPN reported that the team itself was caught off guard, noting that Mercedes had yet to confirm a replacement for their star driver. Citing sources, the outlet also reported that Ferrari chairman John Elkann continued to pursue Hamilton even after he extended his contact with Mercedes last year.

As for what else is happening in the world of Ferrari, Charles Leclerc signed a contact extension last month, declaring that he would be "wearing the Scuderia Ferrari race suit for several more seasons to come."

The Formula One season kicks off in Bahrain on Feb. 29.

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