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ANALYSIS: Why did Hamilton Leave his Home for a Decade — and accept a Bombshell of a Move to Scuderia Ferrari?

Written by Vyas Ponnuri

Having been restricted to a mild rumour in the past, before transitioning into a possible Ferrari move, hyped across social media platforms over the past few hours, it is now official — Lewis Hamilton will don Ferrari red in 2025, having raced for his long-time abode Mercedes — for 12 seasons.

Having achieved so much success for the three-pointed star — six world championships, seven technically, if you count the Mercedes power unit in the rear of his championship-winning McLaren MP4-23, along with 82 race wins, 148 podiums, and 78 pole positions for the silver arrows alone, why has the seven-time world champion opted to make a shock move to the Scuderia for 2025?

As has been commonplace across Formula One's storied history, the allure of the Scuderia has always been far too overpowering for even the best names in motorsport. As the late Enzo Ferrari once famously said, "Ask a child to colour a car, and he will colour it red."

It isn't a surprise to see how every racing driver dreams of donning the famous scarlet overalls, and take to the wheel of a Formula One car produced by the Scuderia. The list of big names to have raced for the prestigious Maranello outfit stretches on and on.

Juan Manuel Fangio, Alberto Ascari, Phil Hill, John Surtees, Niki Lauda, Alain Prost, Gilles Villeneuve, Alain Prost, Nigel Mansell, Michael Schumacher, Fernando Alonso, Kimi Raikkonen, Sebastian Vettel..... these are famous names in the sport, a number of them multiple world champions in the sport.

However, despite not achieving championship glory for the Scuderia, all these drivers did achieve their lifelong dream — drive for Scuderia Ferrari. Hamilton is another to have expressed his admirations for the team in the past, even becoming a proud Ferrari supercar owner, but a Ferrari drive never materialised.

The Briton has always preferred Mercedes to be a preferred option during his long and illustrious Formula One career — and for good reason. Operationally efficient right from the dawn of turbo hybrid era, Hamilton has created a lasting legacy for the Brackley-based team, as evidenced by his accolades and record-breaking statistics.

However, all hasn't seemed too well in the Mercedes camp, ever since the heartbreaking championship loss to Max Verstappen on that day in 2021. Having got their car concept wrong right from the outset of the ground-effect regulation changes, the silver arrows car was held back by an underlying flaw, despite the team's best efforts to alter their 'Zero pod' concept midway through 2023.

In addition, the team also took a contrarian approach regarding upgrades and the development path to Hamilton, causing yet more friction within the team.

Scuffles with new, younger teammate George Russell added to the discontent within the team, often costing the team valuable points in 2023. Hamilton has also gone winless for two seasons in 2022 and 2023, having won atleast one race every year before the new rules came into place.

Hamilton has been a Mercedes loyalist all through his career, and despite his continued faith in the team even through the lows, the Briton has possibly realised Mercedes still do not have a car to put in a full-season challenge for the championship, and the balance of power has shifted towards the Scuderia, whose remarkable development path through the second half of 2023 nearly saw them usurp Mercedes to second in the standings.

The team are also on track to return to championship contention once again — having set in stone 2026 as a deadline to be a strong championship contender once again, when the engine regulations change once again, featuring smaller power units.

This development charge has been spearheaded by an old friend — a special figure in Hamilton's career — at the helm of the Scuderia, Swiss veteran Fred Vasseur. The Swissman was team principal of ART Grand Prix, during Hamilton's triumphant GP2 season. As such, the Briton has a special space in his heart for Vasseur, and knows he is capable of achieving success as a duo.

With Hamilton also on the wrong side of 30, having turned 39 this January, his days in Formula One are numbered. Despite his old foe Fernando Alonso showing age is no barrier to success, battling tooth and nail at the age of 42, and achieving podium, it is a known fact of both drivers eventually reaching the fag end of their careers.

With a familiar face at the helm, and a new challenge of bringing back championship glory for the Scuderia at stake, and the prospects on the up and up at the Scuderia, the seven-time world champion realises this is his best opportunity to drive for the Scuderia. If he wants to have a shot at winning that all-elusive eighth world championship, a resurgent Scuderia presents the better opportunity.

This could be one shot at immortality for the Briton too. While winning a championship would etch his name among the finest to have raced for the team, and bring back the precious silverware the team have been yearning for, it will also cement Hamilton as the greatest racing driver in Formula One — statistically speaking, given he has broken many records on his way to racing greatness.

Winning an eighth championship while driving for the Scuderia would also be a symbolic moment, given he would become the second driver to break the overall championship record driving for the team, much like Michael Schumacher did back in 2003, when he surpassed Fangio's record of five world championships.

Even more symbolic would be him achieving the record for the team in red, the most successful Formula One team, and now paired with the sport's most successful driver, it would be a sensational achievement for both parties.

Hamilton also joins another star qualifier on the grid — Monegasque driver Charles Leclerc, a driver possessing raw speed and oozing talent. Given Hamilton has been in championship-contending situations plenty of times, he can act as an advisor to Leclerc, providing him useful tips to take the fight to the rest.

It will most certainly create an interesting dynamic, with both drivers having their own egos, and capable of being the team's top dog on any given day. The teammate pairing boasts plenty of potential, and Vasseur would be happy as long as the teammate rivalry doesn't boil over on the racetrack, given both drivers' hunger for racing success.

Hamilton's introduction into the Scuderia is also an important aspect in Vasseur's recruitment strategy, having already hired personnel from rival teams such as Red Bull and Mercedes. With a talismanic figure of Hamilton's nature at the team, more engineers would look to join the Scuderia, and help the team on its journey to silverware once again.

It poses a fresh challenge for Hamilton, and could well be the perfect way to sign off his Formula One career, should he win a championship for Formula One's biggest household name. He has been no stranger to making big moves, when he first stepped in from a strong McLaren to a relatively weak Mercedes outfit in 2013.

This is yet another big move in his career, and the first time he will be racing non-Mercedes machinery in Formula One. Hamilton certainly believes in the masterplan displayed by Ferrari, and would be relishing the prospect of racing in scarlet, come 2025.


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