The Malta Independent 14 April 2024, Sunday
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Lewis Hamilton set to leave Mercedes and join Ferrari for 2025 Formula 1 season

Thursday, 1 February 2024, 12:09 Last update: about 3 months ago

Seven-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton has been linked with a shock move from Mercedes to Ferrari next year, according to reports on Thursday.

Sky Sports News said Hamilton would leave Mercedes after the 2024 season and replace Carlos Sainz Jr. at Ferrari. It didn’t cite any sources. The Daily Mail also said the deal would go through while motorsport.com said it wasn’t a done deal yet but negotiations were at an advanced stage and could be concluded this week.

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When contacted by The Associated Press, Mercedes and Ferrari declined to comment on if Hamilton will join Ferrari.

The move would surprise many F1 observers because the 39-year-old British driver signed a new two-year deal last summer until 2025, although it remains unclear whether the deal contained an escape clause.

Hamilton won six titles with Mercedes in seven years from 2014-20 and lost the 2021 championship to Red Bull's Max Verstappen on the final lap of the last race. He has not won a race since 2021 and remains stuck on a record 103 wins.

If he joins Ferrari he would likely replace Sainz, considering Sainz's teammate, Charles Leclerc, recently signed a multi-year contract extension.

Hamilton joined Mercedes in 2013 from McLaren in what was also a surprise move at the time.

After dominating to 2020, Hamilton and Mercedes have been frustrated in the past two seasons. Mercedes won only one race in 2022 when the car suffered from a bouncing effect, known in F1 as porpoising. The team admitted getting the design wrong.

Preseason F1 testing begins on Feb. 21 in Bahrain. Bahrain also hosts the first of a record 24 races on March 2, when Verstappen starts his bid for a fourth straight world championship.

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