The Roar
The Roar


Will Lewis Hamilton's shock move to Ferrari strengthen his legacy... or tarnish it?

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Roar Guru
1st February, 2024

“Dream the impossible and speak it into existence. You’ve got to work for it; you’ve got to chase it; and you’ve got to never give up; and never doubt yourself.”

That was the emphatic line delivered by Lewis Hamilton upon clinching his record seventh world title in the damp of Istanbul in 2020.

A quote that many could apply to what was once a dream – of the seven-time world champion and 103-time Grand Prix winner donning the scarlet red overalls and walking through the fabled workshops of Maranello – that has now been wished into existence.

Yes, the 39-year old Hamilton has been announced as a Scuderia Ferrari driver on a multi-year agreement from the 2025 season onwards to partner Charles Leclerc, who himself was recently announced to have committed to a new long-term deal with the Prancing Horse.

Rumours have long been rife regarding the Brit and a possible dalliance with Ferrari, with talk as recently as last year that chairman John Elkann was courting him.

That was put to bed, temporarily as it has turned out, when Hamilton renewed for another two seasons with Mercedes.

Even the thought of Hamilton turning his back on his beloved Silver Arrows, with whom throughout his career he has prided himself on his loyalty – from back in his karting days, to debuting for a Mercedes-powered McLaren in F1, to then tallying 82 wins, 6 World Championships and eight constructors titles for the works team – is still surreal, never mind the reality of him actually walking away.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton. (Photo by Michael Potts/BSR Agency/Getty Images)


Mercedes have not only powered Hamilton into the pantheon of Formula One greats, but have also provided him with a crucial platform to advocate greater sustainability, call out social justice issues and support his Mission 44 charity.

Chiefly in 2020, they proved this with the decision to run an all-black livery (which they still do) in wake of the violent death of George Floyd in police custody, and the need for ending racism on a global front.

Despite the well documented frustration from Hamilton regarding the downturn in Mercedes’ form since F1’s transition to the ground-effect technical regulations in 2022, it felt more likely that the Brit would walk away from the sport rather than chase that elusive eighth world title elsewhere.

Mercedes missed the trick with their ornate zero-sidepods concept, which made for an obstinate car to drive. The Silver Arrows failed to directly rectify this in 2023, when it took until the Spanish Grand Prix in June for them to abandon the failed philosophy and reinstate James Allison as Technical Director in place of Mike Elliott to course correct.

Hamilton’s seismic decision here may heavily lean into the allure of driving for a prestigious marque in Ferrari, as well as the possibility of taking the outright record of World Championships with an eighth – at the team his fellow seven-time champion in Michael Schumacher brought such success to all those years ago, no less – but above all, it shows a vote of no confidence in Mercedes.

There seems little to be lost for Hamilton with this switch, as on paper Ferrari are in a similar situation to Mercedes in that they are still trailing the pacesetters in Red Bull.

He’ll also reunite with team principal Fred Vasseur, who oversaw his 2006 GP2 Championship success.


But the romantic notion of being a one-marque driver is now lost, though there is romance to be found with driving for Ferrari.

Only time will tell now whether his Formula One legacy, which already has him established as a legendary driver with nothing to prove, will be strengthened or tarnished by making this switch.