Mercedes’ staff have been informed that Lewis Hamilton is leaving the team for Ferrari, at the conclusion of the 2024 season.
Silly season has gotten underway earlier than ever before, with Hamilton’s switch to Ferrari having caught everybody off-guard.
Hamilton only signed a two-year contract extension with the Silver Arrows midway through the 2023 season, tying him down to the Germans for 2024 and 2025.
However, it appears that the 39-year-old has an exit clause in his Mercedes deal, as he’ll be a Ferrari driver for 2025.
The seven-time World Champion is going to be replacing Carlos Sainz, whose contract expires at the end of this year.
It means Hamilton will partner Charles Leclerc, who only recently signed a multi-year contract extension with the Maranello-based squad.
Following the breaking news, which was first reported on Thursday morning, it’s since been revealed that Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff held a team meeting in the afternoon, where he informed them that Hamilton would be departing.
According to Sky Sports, the meeting lasted around 10 minutes, with several staff having only gone to the team’s base purely for Wolff’s announcement.
It all means that a Mercedes seat will be up for grabs for the 2025 season, whilst Ferrari’s lineup is confirmed for at least next year.
“We can confirm that Hamilton is going to Ferrari for the 2025 season,” Sky Sports’ Rachel Brookes reported, whilst standing outside Mercedes’ Brackley base.
“Staff at the Brackley base have been told that’s what is happening.
“The meeting lasted about 10 minutes or so.
“We saw the staff arriving and, within 10 to 14 minutes, they were leaving again.
“They were told that Lewis Hamilton is leaving Mercedes at the end of the 2024 season.
“It is huge news throughout motorsport.
“He looked as though he’d end his career with the Mercedes team. They have backed him with his initiatives on-track and off-track.
“But he will be leaving to wear the red of Ferrari.
“He drives Ferraris around his home in Monaco and now he will drive the Ferrari Formula 1 car. Their launch is next week.”