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The pros and cons of Lewis Hamilton’s blockbuster move

Updated: Feb 20

Written by Jacob Awcock, Edited by Vyas Ponnuri 



Lewis Hamilton is set to end his 12 year stay at Mercedes and move to the red side of the grid, joining the Scuderia for the 2025 season and beyond. We assess the pros and cons of his move, for both Ferrari and Mercedes as well as possible implications for Hamilton’s future….


Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton: eight world titles, 103 Grand Prix wins, and 104 pole positions. A mighty impressive CV indeed, but one constant throughout his 17 year stint in Formula One is the engine sitting behind the rear of his cars. 


Having only raced for McLaren and Mercedes, he has only ever driven with a Mercedes engine behind him. While Mercedes do supply a large amount of the Formula One grid with their engines, Ferrari is one of the teams to source their own engine, and do not run Mercedes power units. 


This could have a big effect on Lewis’ performance at the Scuderia as it will be a monumental change, one that Lewis, despite being 39, has never experienced in his Formula One career.


Will this move pay off for Hamilton or will it backfire dramatically? Image Credits: Getty Images by Eurasia images

However, one thing Lewis isn't a stranger to, is making big moves in an attempt to improve his possibilities of winning championships. Having won the 2008 season with McLaren, the Briton stayed at the team for four more seasons, but after being unable to secure another championship, he decided to jump ship to Mercedes. 


This move took the F1 world by surprise and many criticised the move, claiming he still had a better chance at a championship at McLaren than he did Mercedes. Fast forward to 2015, and Lewis had two championships under his belt with Mercedes, and it was clear that he had made the right decision moving to what was now a dominant team. 


Having experienced a similar lacklustre 2022 and 2023 campaign with Mercedes, this move to Ferrari somewhat mirrors his move to Mercedes over a decade ago. While multiple world titles sounds unlikely, the opportunity to write his name into the history books as the greatest ever is still very much alive. 


Not only the possibility of claiming an unprecedented eight world titles, but also providing Ferrari with their first world title since Kimi Raikkonen in 2007, would engrain his name in the history books, as undoubtedly the greatest driver ever to grace Formula One. 


Hamilton wants more than anything to be an eight-time world champion. Critics will claim he is doing this for the money and fame, but with a net worth of $285 million and over 35 million followers on Instagram, he arguably does not need any more fame or money. 


What Lewis wants is the opportunity to go down as undoubtedly the greatest of all time, and with Mercedes stumbling following the new regulation change, he feels Ferrari is the best poised team to provide him with an eighth world title, beating ex-Ferrari driver Michael Schumacher’s tally of seven as well. 


His idol Ayrton Senna was never able to compete in the red race car and, while the Brit may have to learn Italian and get used to a new environment, he will get the chance to drive the coveted red race car every driver dreams of racing in.   


Ferrari

The only team on today’s grid to have been on the inaugural Formula One grid in 1950, now the most lucrative motorsport team in the world. 16 constructors’ titles and 15 drivers titles, nearly double the amount of any other team on the grid. The Scuderia is an icon of the sport


However, Ferrari and the famous Tifosi, Ferrari fans, have not been given the taste of championship glory in over 15 years, and are growing restless. They’ve come close, most recently with Charles Leclerc in 2022, but were left to rue strategy calls and driver errors. 


By bolstering their line-up with Hamilton, Ferrari fans will pray for their team to control a fiery driver line-up, and mould them into an unbeatable duo. 


How will Charles Leclerc cope coming up against one of the greatest drivers of all time?; Image Credits: Getty Images by Nurphoto

Both Leclerc and Hamilton have previous history with teammates; Hamilton with Rosberg, and Leclerc with Vettel both ending in collisions, arguments and headaches for the teams. Both drivers want to win, and when given a championship contending car, will stop at nothing to claim a championship. 


For Leclerc it would be number one, for Hamilton it would be an elusive eight, a milestone for both drivers. Neither driver will want to be second best, and will want the full backing of Ferrari, despite the team forced to favour only one. It waits to be seen which driver will be chosen, and how the other driver reacts.


However, as one problem appears, another one disappears. It had been largely reported of the team undergoing significant difficulties regarding Carlos Sainz Jr’s contract for 2024 and beyond. The main reason was reportedly due to contract length, with Sainz wanting long-term security and a multi-year deal, something Ferrari were not prepared to provide. 


With his deal coming to an end in late 2024, and teammate Charles Leclerc in the process of signing a new multi-year deal, it was clear why Sainz was becoming restless with Ferrari, and the relationship potentially turning sour. 


An unhappy driver continuing to race for one of the most prestigious teams on the grid would have been a nightmare. Yes, Sainz is an extraordinary driver and has still got so much more to give, but would he have been able to give his best, knowing he wasn't in Ferrari’s long term plans. 


But this has been sorted, and it is now down to Sainz to find a drive for 2025, and it's safe to say he's not short of options.  


Ferrari have managed to secure the signature of the driver they've been chasing for years. Lewis Hamilton arrives at the team with the chance to bring Ferrari back to the golden heights of the Schumacher era, and this is something every Ferrari fan, and F1 fan, will be excited for. 

Conflict is possible between the two teammates, and it will be crucial for team boss Fred Vasseur and Ferrari to manage the two drivers, and keep them both satisfied and working towards a common goal: Championship glory.


Mercedes

This situation has very few positives for Mercedes. The team thought they had him penned past 2024, and possibly even longer, in a managerial role, or as a driver still. But the bombshell has been dropped by Lewis, and it is evident something must have happened to make Lewis move now of all times. 


It is no secret to see Mercedes not at the standards pre-regulation change, but team boss Toto Wolff was, and still is, confident of a much-improved campaign for 2024 and beyond. Improvements were evident towards the tail end of 2023, most notably piping Ferrari to second place in the constructors championship at the last race in Abu Dhabi. 


Surely this provides the foundations for a strong 2024 campaign, for the team to build on from 2025 and beyond. Clearly Lewis is not convinced. He must be aware of something around the trajectory Mercedes are on, and the direction they are travelling, which he is unhappy about and has caused him to change teams in such a dramatic fashion. 


Whether the team is really on a downward route with their car, and Lewis left at just the right time, will only be determined by the end of 2024. 


With Lewis out of the picture, a seat is vacant, and it is safe to say there is an abundance of talent available for Mercedes to choose from, but they seem to not have a solidified replacement prepared. 


If Mercedes opt for experience, the most obvious target, and the one most heavily linked with the drive, is Fernando Alonso who, at the ripe age of 42, is looking to get one more world championship before calling it a day in Formula One. 


Alex Albon is another candidate and, despite his youth, has experienced racing for a top team having raced for Red Bull in 2020 and half of 2019. Both drivers bring promise to a team looking to bounce back and both are able to compete up at the front of a Formula One grid. 


On the other hand, youth could be an option for Mercedes, in the form of two of their development drivers. Frederik Vesti competed in Formula 2 last season, narrowly missing out on championship glory, while fellow development driver Kimi Antonelli has proven himself to be a future F1 star, and will compete in Formula 2 this season, having skipped Formula 3. 


Aged just 17,  the young Italian will not be old enough or have enough super licence points to compete in Formula 1 for another year, possibly, but when he is old enough, teams will be looking to get him in their car as soon as possible. Could he prove to be the saviour Mercedes need?


Mercedes will look at this news with sadness. Hamilton was Mercedes, and Mercedes needed Hamilton. Losing him will rock the team, but they must bounce back and prove him wrong. Their first port of call must be finding a replacement, and several drivers will be knocking at the door for this drive. 


George Russell will want to take the number one spot, but if a driver such as Fernando Alonso was introduced, you’d wonder if this would be a feasible request. A young talent could be nurtured by George, but he is also still young and is developing himself. Mercedes have a task on their hands to recover from this bombshell dropped on them.


How will Leclerc and Hamilton get along at Ferrari? Will it be sunshine or is there a storm brewing?; Image Credits: Getty Images/Dan Istitene

It is clear that Hamilton’s move has not only shocked the Formula One world, but also the teams and drivers. Questions have arisen around reasons for the move, but will not be answered for some time, and a sense of unknown hangs over the sport. 


What is for sure though, is Lewis will arrive at Maranello with one thing in mind, and this level of determination could prove to be either vital or fateful for him, when coming up against Charles Leclerc. 


Ferrari now have the challenge of keeping two highly competitive, talented drivers satisfied, a tough ask if they are put in the position of possible championship glory.


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