Formula 1 legend Lewis Hamilton is set to make a surprising move from Mercedes to Ferrari after the 2024 season, as confirmed by both teams on Thursday. The seven-time world champion triggered a clause in his contract, marking the end of an impressive 11-year collaboration with Mercedes.

Toto Wolff, the Principal and CEO of Mercedes, expressed pride in the successful partnership with Hamilton, stating, “Our time with Lewis has been the most successful in the sport’s history, but we knew this day would come eventually. Lewis has decided to seek a new challenge, and we respect his decision. We’re excited about our future opportunities, but for now, our focus is on a strong 2024 season.”

Hamilton, who initially joined Mercedes in 2013, achieved six of his seven world titles with the team between 2014 and 2020. In a statement, he acknowledged the difficulty of leaving the team he has been a part of since he was 13, saying, “Mercedes has been part of my life, but it’s time for a new challenge. I’m committed to giving my best performance in my last year with the Silver Arrows.”

Ferrari officially announced Hamilton’s move, revealing that he would join the team in 2025 on a multi-year contract. Despite ongoing speculation, Hamilton had previously expressed his intention to remain with Mercedes for life. Media reports earlier on Thursday suggested an imminent change.

Reflecting on the decision, Hamilton said, “Making the decision to leave Mercedes was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make. But the time is right for me to take this step, and I’m excited about the new challenge.”

Hamilton’s move to Ferrari is expected to lead to him replacing Carlos Sainz, given that Charles Leclerc recently signed a contract extension. Hamilton signed a two-year deal with Mercedes in August of the previous year, keeping him on board through the 2025 season, though details about any exit clause remain unclear.

The upcoming Formula 1 season is set to kick off in Bahrain on February 29.

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