Mercedes have confirmed that Lewis Hamilton will leave the team at the end of the 2024 F1 season as the seven-time F1 world champion is set to join Ferrari next year on a multi-year contract.
On the eve of last year's Italian Grand Prix, Hamilton signed a new two-year contract with Mercedes which was due to expire at the end of 2025. However, the 103-time F1 race winner has announced a shock move which will see him leave Mercedes at the end of the current season in a bid to join Formula One's most successful team, Ferrari next year.
After a day full of speculation, extending on the decision, Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff added: “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.
"However, we knew our partnership would come to a natural end at some point, 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.”
Hamilton has raced for the Silver Arrows since the 2013 season and has won six of his seven world titles with the team, adding to the crown he achieved at McLaren earlier in his career.
The 104-time pole-sitter exercised a release option to allow him to walk away from the team after just one season. His decision means that he will still race for Mercedes in 2024 alongside George Russell, but he will replace Carlos Sainz at Maranello next season.
Commenting on the announcement, 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 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.
"But the time is right for me to take this step and I'm excited to be taking 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 I can this season and making my last year with the Silver Arrows, one to remember.”
Team Statement— Scuderia Ferrari (@ScuderiaFerrari) February 1, 2024
Scuderia Ferrari is pleased to announce that Lewis Hamilton will be joining the team in 2025, on a multi-year contract. pic.twitter.com/moEMqUgzXH
Ferrari's decision also means that two-time F1 race winner Carlos Sainz will leave the Scuderia after four years at Maranello. The Spaniard is expected to sign with Audi's incoming F1 project in 2026, which would see him race for Sauber in 2025 before Audi comes in.
"Following today's news, Scuderia Ferrari and myself will part ways at the end of 2024," Sainz said in a statement posted on X.
"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. News about my future will be announced in due course."