What Hamilton Joining Ferrari Means For Formula 1

Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton

After the news broke earlier today, we’re asking what Hamilton joining Ferrari means for Formula 1. After the 2023 F1 grid remained static heading in 2024, the silly season ahead of the 2025 campaign has started extra early.

Sir Lewis Hamilton will go to Ferrari to partner Charles Leclerc at the Scuderia from 2025. This move has been rumoured for around a decade now, but it’s finally come to reality. So, what does the sport’s most successful driver heading to its most successful team mean for the pinnacle of motorsport?

What Hamilton Joining Ferrari Means For Formula 1

We cannot downplay how much of a seismic shift in F1 this is. Hamilton has spent his entire Formula 1 career powered by Mercedes engines at McLaren and since 2013, the works Merc team. Sir Lewis heading to Ferrari is a huge deal in every sense of the word.

Ferrari has lacked a championship-winning driver since Sebastian Vettel was unceremoniously sacked from his post at Maranello after the 2020 season. Hamilton joining brings invaluable experience and a winning mentality that the Italian outfit has desperately lacked in recent years.

2023 Mexican Grand Prix, Sunday - Lewis Hamilton

This could well propel Ferrari back to regular winning ways ahead of the 2026 regulation shift, which is set to be an opportunity for a new beginning for all of the teams.

Hamilton will be in for a huge payday with his new contract, but he won’t have moved to Ferrari unless he was sure the team has a chance of providing the Great Briton with the opportunity for that fabled eighth championship.

The battle between Leclerc and Hamilton in the same car will also be fascinating, as it’ll be a contest between two of the fastest drivers in F1. Hamilton will be 40 years old when he joins Ferrari, but he’ll still be on top of his game, just look how well Fernando Alonso is doing at 42!

For Ferrari’s sake, let’s hope that tempers don’t boil over between the pair, as they’re both extremely competitive athletes. We would guess that it’s unlikely this would happen, though, as there’s a huge difference in terms of age and past success for both drivers.

Who do Mercedes hire?

Hamilton leaving Mercedes leaves a huge hole in both experience and talent at Brackley. While Mercedes will retain George Russell, as he’s under contract for 2025, the jury is still out as to whether Russell is ready to be a team leader.

Russell knows the team well, he’s been a Mercedes racer since 2017, but he only has one Grand Prix win to his name and was resoundingly beaten by Hamilton in 2023. So, if Mercedes are to continue competing at the front, they need a star driver to come through the door.

George Russell

Who will this be, though? Well, top-level winning F1 drivers are hard to come by. They’re very much like goal-scoring strikers in football, they’re a rare breed.

Some might point to Fernando Alonso, but there’s no way that Toto Wolff will allow the absolute chaos that follows Alonso around like a bad smell. He’s an incredibly fast driver, even at 42, but the Spaniard is not a long-term solution and could cause short-term headaches behind the scenes.

Max Verstappen isn’t an option either, as he’s tied down to a contract with Red Bull until 2028. Lando Norris could’ve been an option, but he’s recently signed a contract extension with McLaren. Oscar Piastri, while impressive, is too inexperienced and he’s contracted to McLaren until 2026.

So, that leaves two main candidates in our opinion. The first is Esteban Ocon, who is managed by Wolff and knows the team well, being Mercedes’ reserve driver in the past. The second, and more likely option, though, is Alex Albon.

Albon had an incredible season with Williams in 2023, dragging them to seventh in the Constructor’s Championship and into points places that car didn’t deserve to be. Plus, we know Russell and Albon are friends too, which would help team cohesion.

Some might think that Carlos Sainz will go to Mercedes, but we’ve got a sneaking suspicion he’ll head elsewhere…

What about Red Bull?

Red Bull have been able to rely on the incredible pace of Max Verstappen to win them championships, despite the poor performances of Sergio Perez. For 2025, though, they likely won’t be able to do that, with Ferrari set to field what has already been dubbed as “the F1 dream team”.

So, the Milton Keynes outfit will be in the market for a new driver to replace the Mexican. Some might point to Daniel Ricciardo and Yuki Tsunoda of the Racing Bulls, after all, this is Red Bull’s second team.

However, Ricciardo likely wouldn’t want to go up against Max in the same car again and Yuki hasn’t yet proved himself to be a consistent top driver in F1.

F1 Grand Prix Of Italy Qualifying
Could Max and Carlos be teammates again?

There is one teammate, though, who has gone up against Verstappen in the same machinery and held his own. None other than Carlos Sainz, who was teammates with the Flying Dutchman at Toro Rosso in 2015. Sainz won’t be thrilled to be out of a job at Ferrari, but he’d likely jump at the chance to drive a Red Bull.

Sainz is exactly what Red Bull needs in a number two, he’s consistent and can challenge the very best on his day. He’s performed at every team he’s driven for and there’s no reason to think that would change if he returned to Red Bull.

We shouldn’t downplay how difficult a job it will be for Carlos, though, as that Red Bull second seat has been a poisoned chalice during Verstappen’s time at RBR.

What about the sport as a whole?

This is exactly the shot in the arm Formula 1 needed. It’s fair to say that it’s been a bad couple of weeks for the sport, after both the news of the new Madrid Street Circuit joining for 2026 and Andretti being blocked from joining as the eleventh team were received incredibly poorly by fans.

This news has sent the rumour mill into overdrive and silly season is in full swing a full four months before it usually is. With over half of the 2025 grid yet to be decided, there will be a lot of negotiating and changes to come, this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Lewis Hamilton
2023 Qatar Grand Prix, Sunday – Lewis Hamilton

Hamilton driving for Ferrari will also pique the interest of fans that have become disillusioned in the sport that has in truth been dull for the last couple of seasons.

Even if 2024 follows in a similar vein, F1 fans will keep their ears close to the ground in the hope that 2025 will be a new dawn for the pinnacle of motorsport.

Hamilton is box office for Formula 1 and having him drive for the most popular team in the sport is something that the broadcasters, organisers and other media are licking their lips at the prospect of…

More in News

Trouble Brewing At Alpine After Monaco Incident

Trouble Brewing At Alpine After Monaco Incident

It would be "stupidity" if Alpine sidelined Esteban Ocon over ...
Adrian Newey

Ferrari No Longer Chasing Adrian Newey?

Ferrari may have stepped back from trying to secure the ...
MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - MAY 26: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (1) Oracle Red Bull Racing RB20 on track during the F1 Grand Prix of Monaco at Circuit de Monaco on May 26, 2024 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202405260949 // Usage for editorial use only //

Performance Problems A Mystery For Red Bull

The recent performance trend in Formula 1 is revealing an ...
MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - MAY 26: The car of Sergio Perez of Mexico and Oracle Red Bull Racing is recovered from the track after crashing during the F1 Grand Prix of Monaco at Circuit de Monaco on May 26, 2024 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images) *** BESTPIX *** // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202405260966 // Usage for editorial use only //

F1 Must React To Bizarrely Boring Monaco GP

As Charles Leclerc and Ferrari celebrated, the Formula 1 world ...
Scuderia Ferrari, team celebration, LECLERC Charles (mco), Scuderia Ferrari SF-24, portrait, victory during the Formula 1 Grand Prix de Monaco 2024, 8th round of the 2024 Formula One World Championship from May 23 to 26, 2024 on the Circuit de Monaco, in Monaco - Photo Eric Alonso / DPPI

Charles Leclerc Completes His Monaco Masterpiece

Charles Leclerc has finally shaken off his Monaco taboo, winning ...

Trending on F1 Chronicle