Lewis Hamilton Says Ferrari F1 Decision Fueled by Wanting to ‘Start a New Chapter’

Jackson Wheeler
5 Min Read

  • Hamilton expanded on his future move to Ferrari for the first time on Friday in Bahrain.
  • Hamilton’s move will reconnect him with Frederic Vasseur, Ferrari’s team principal. The two go way back to Hamilton’s junior days.
  • The 39-year-old driver is determined to go out strong with Mercedes in 2023.

Lewis Hamilton says the unique attraction of Ferrari was partly behind his decision to join the team from 2025, one he is aware is a “huge challenge.”

Hamilton sprung a surprise earlier this month by exercising a option clause in his Mercedes contract to join Ferrari on a multi-year deal beginning in 2025. Hamilton expanded on the move for the first time on Friday, speaking at Formula 1 preseason testing in Bahrain.

“It was obviously the hardest decision I have ever had to make,” said Hamilton on leaving Mercedes. “I think ultimately I’m writing my story and I felt like it was just time to start a new chapter.

formula 1 testing in bahrain day 3

Rudy Carezzevoli//Getty Images

Lewis Hamilton tests in Bahrain this week ahead of the 2024 season opener.

“I think for every driver, I think growing up, watching the history, watching Michael Schumacher in his prime, I think probably all of us sit in our garage and see the screen pop up, and you see the driver in the red cockpit, and you wonder what it might be like to be surrounded by the red. You go to the Italian Grand Prix, and you see the sea of red of Ferrari fans, and you can only stand in awe of that.

“It’s a team that’s not had huge success really since, mostly obviously from Michael’s days, but obviously since 2007, and I saw it as a huge challenge. So it definitely is a dream, and I’m really, really excited about it.”

Hamilton’s move will reconnect him with Frederic Vasseur, Ferrari’s team principal, who took up the position at the start of 2023. Hamilton drove for the ASM/ART Grand Prix outfit founded and run by Vasseur during his time in junior formula, winning the Formula 3 title in 2005, and GP2 Series title in 2006.

“I’ve got a great relationship with Fred,” said Hamilton. “Obviously I raced for him in Formula 3 and we had amazing success in Formula 3 and also in GP2, and that’s really where the foundation for our relationship started. We just always remained in touch, and I thought that he was going to be an amazing team manager at some stage and progress to Formula 1, but at the time he wasn’t interested in that.

“It was pretty cool to see him step into the Alfa (Romeo) team and then when he got the job at Ferrari I was so happy for him. I think just the stars aligned, it really wouldn’t have happened without him and I’m just really grateful and really excited about the work he’s doing there.”

There is nonetheless an entire Formula 1 season still to run before Hamilton links up with Ferrari and he was keen to stress that he is determined to conclude his Mercedes stint on an uplifting note.

“This chapter’s still not finished,” said Hamilton. “I am still 100% focused on delivering for this team this year and trying to finish on a high. That’s a big, big goal for me and the team.

“I have absolute faith in everyone in the team and what we’ve done so far I think is great, so I really hope that we are somehow able to close the gap to the Red Bulls.”

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Jackson Wheeler is a skilled editor at Speedofdaily.com, specializing in automotive content. With a background in Journalism and Automotive Engineering, he combines his passion for cars with his writing expertise to deliver captivating articles. Jackson's deep knowledge of automotive technology and his racing experience make him a valuable asset to the team, providing readers with informative and engaging content.
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