Hamilton’s shock move to Ferrari

The news of Lewis Hamilton’s decision to quit Mercedes and join Ferrari is a sensational development with far-reaching implications.  It will have an immediate impact on the 2024 season, now Hamilton’s final year driving for the team which brought him six of his seven World Championship titles, and sends shock waves through the driver market.

Students of Hamilton, the most successful driver of all time, will know that this is not the first occasion on which he has upended expectations and left a team to which he appeared firmly wed.  When he was lured to Mercedes from McLaren, thanks in part to the salesmanship of Niki Lauda, his decision was greeted with astonishment.  Yet it proved to be a case of perfect timing, Hamilton leading Mercedes’ dominance of the hybrid-engine era commencing in 2014.

Although many expected Hamilton to see out his career at Mercedes and secure a life-long ambassadorship for the three-pointed star, he has previously considered Ferrari.  Indeed, it’s something Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff discussed five years ago.

Now 39, and in the wake of two winless seasons at Mercedes in 2022 and 2023, it is clear that Hamilton can only see upside to moving to Maranello.  If he wins races or challenges for the World Championship it will be regarded as a stunning success, while a less competitive experience will not dent his reputation.  Ferrari has not won a world title since 2008, the onus is on the team to provide Hamilton with a car worthy of his skills.

While Mercedes will no doubt push hard to make the most of Hamilton’s final season alongside team mate George Russell, it will be fascinating to watch whether the inter-team dynamic shifts given that one driver represents the past, the other the future.

The move also means that Mercedes will need to find a new driver for 2025, the final year of the current regulations.  Meanwhile Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz Jr now knows he must find a new berth, and while some are touting that he could simply swap with Hamilton, Toto Wolff and his team will no doubt be evaluating whether the future should lie with signing an experienced hand or investing in new talent.

Ferrari’s Executive Chairman John Elkann and Formula 1 Team Principal Frederic Vasseur both know Hamilton well, Vasseur having run the British superstar in lower formulae.  When it became clear that Hamilton’s two-year contract extension with Mercedes for 2024 and 2025 gave him the option to move after just one year, they made their move.

Hamilton, perhaps uncertain whether Mercedes can really recover from a relatively fallow period and challenge Red Bull Racing for the title, will have noted that Ferrari was the only team to score a Grand Prix victory against the dominance of the Milton Keynes-based outfit in 2023.  

In throwing his weight behind Ferrari, Hamilton will elevate the Italian team in ways far beyond the race track.  Formula 1’s biggest star will bring with him a legion of fans, including in the United States, his adoptive home and Ferrari’s most important market.  

- Mark Gallagher
Performance Insights

Make an Enquiry

You can reach us by completing the form below, emailing or calling us directly.  We aim to respond promptly, typically within the same working day.  Thank you in advance for contacting Performance Insights.

* Required Field
Outstanding - this was exceptional. Feedback from the team was unreal, I really thank you for delivering on the key messages!
Thomas Guether, Chief Growth Office, Compass Group


Get In Touch

Call Us Today
Send Us An Email
Enquire Online
Join Us On LinkedIn