what Lewis Hamilton’s departure to Ferrari will change for Formula 1

The announcement on Thursday of the signing of Briton Lewis Hamilton at Ferrari from the 2025 season was a shock wave which will have multiple repercussions for the short and medium term future of all of Formula 1.

France Télévisions – Sports Editorial


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A few hours of storm and the Formula 1 landscape is redrawn. Thursday 1er February, Mercedes confirmed the departure at the end of this season of Lewis Hamilton, seven-time world champion, including six times with the German firm. In the process, Ferrari put an end to an open secret by confirming the arrival of the Briton from 2025, for “several years“.

This transfer, which almost no one had seen coming forty-eight hours earlier, had the effect of an explosion, a terrible gust of wind on the entire discipline. And this, in many ways. The 2024 season has not yet started (March 3, Bahrain GP) and the next one is already turned upside down.

Hamilton, the quest for eternity

Lewis Hamilton, however, has little left to prove. An absolute F1 legend, the most successful driver in Grands Prix (103 wins), his story no longer seemed to be written at Mercedes, where he had arrived eleven years earlier. However, he still has one unfinished goal with just one lap left, that of being the most successful driver in the Formula 1 world championship. With his seven crowns, Hamilton still shares the throne with Michael Schumacher. And after the heartbreaking outcome of the 2021 season, the last two opuses seemed to seal this dream, the fault of a poorly born Mercedes, bending like the others in the face of the overwhelming domination of Red Bull. “The time has come for me to take this step and I am excited to take on a new challenge” explained the pilot on Thursday.

To achieve this, Lewis Hamilton will arrive at Ferrari a year before the implementation of new technical regulations, in 2026. Exactly what he was able to do when arriving at Mercedes in 2013, a year before a major development – ​​the engines V6 turbo hybrids – which opened a period of hegemony for the Silver Arrows.

I don’t know if the regulatory change will be that big, but having a top driver like Lewis will be an added advantage.analyzes our consultant Cyril Abiteboul, former director of the Renault team and president of Hyundai Motorsport in rallying. Announcing a pilot strategy with a name like this very early on means announcing a very high level of ambition. It’s a virtuous spiral to attract good engineers, mechanics, the best of the best… If there was the slightest doubt about Ferrari, there are no more.

An already exciting 2025 season…

Seeing one of the greatest drivers of all time join the most legendary team, “This is super interesting news for this sport, which has extraordinary dynamicsbelieves Cyril Abiteboul. But the dynamics must be maintained. There is always a risk of going in circles with the domination of Max Verstappen and Red Bull. A new headliner was needed to create a threat.

In the machine storytelling what Formula 1 has become in recent years, this transfer will be the big story to follow. That of an unfinished quest for glory. Also that of a British Lord following in the footsteps of the Red Baron from Ferrari. To give himself one last chance to leave Michael Schumacher and his seven world titles in the rearview mirror, Lewis Hamilton continues his affiliation with the German, from whom he took over at Mercedes in 2013, before now seeking similar success with the The prancing horse stable.

Lewis Hamilton, and in the background the image of Michael Schumacher, whose Grand Prix victory record he stole, here on October 25, 2020. (PAULO MARIA / DPPI)

But unlike “Schumi”, who landed at the peak of his career at Maranello within a team undergoing reconstruction, Lewis Hamilton will make his debut at Ferrari at the age of 40. “Fernando Alonso [42 ans] shows that we are still young in F1 at that agetempers Cyril Abiteboul. And Ferrari is not looking for construction, but to seek results and titles. It is a strategy to maximize these results. The gap in 2023 between Max Verstappen and Sergio Pérez at Red Bull shows to what extent you can have a very good car but that two drivers can use it and have very different results. We can’t blame Ferrari for wanting to put all the chances on its side.

And an even crisper 2024 transfer window

This transfer, which took place so early in the season, will also add more spice to the transfer window for next season, which was not lacking with 13 of the 20 drivers on the field at the end of their contract. “Hamilton at Ferrari is an absolute dominocompares our consultant Cyril Abiteboul. There is a sequence: Ferrari moves, then Mercedes will have to move, even Red Bull will have to wonder about its second driver. No one can say they were spared by this shock announcement. The teams that want to be at the forefront will have to react quickly.

The director of the Mercedes team, Toto Wolff, may have announced on Friday that he wanted “take his time“to replace his star driver, he also described the situation as “opportunity to do something daring.“For some drivers, this is the opportunity or never to shine the light on them at the start of the season in order to convince a new employer. This is particularly the case at Alpine with Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon, candidates for the Red Bull seats and Mercedes. But also young French promises Théo Pourchaire (who left to drive in Super Formula in Japan after his Formula 2 world champion title) and Victor Martins (F2), who should not miss their opportunities in the game of musical chairs.

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