Mercedes and Hamilton’s departure – now the big bang is looming

Lewis Hamilton is entering his final season as a Mercedes driver before moving to Ferrari. This offers a lot of explosives for the German racing team.

“I am 100 percent committed to the task I have to do and am determined to end my partnership with the team on a high note”: It is a declaration of loyalty despite farewell that Lewis Hamilton made shortly after announcing his move from Mercedes to Ferrari for the 2025 season. A few days after the change exploded like a bomb in preparation for the coming Formula 1 season, Hamilton provided a long explanation for his decision via Instagram.

After eleven years and six world championship titles, the 38-year-old is ending the Mercedes chapter. He wrote in it that he needed a new challenge and wanted to fulfill his dream of one day driving for Ferrari. The Brit also emphasized that he wanted to focus fully on the coming final season with Mercedes and help the team get back to winning ways after two difficult years.

However, that is easier said than done. After the announcement of Hamilton’s departure, Mercedes has to deal with two construction sites. Things could break out in the team.

Because Hamilton’s farewell comes in the middle of a difficult sporting phase for the “Silver Arrows”. After years of dominance and narrowly losing the 2021 Drivers’ World Championship, the racing team gambled away when building the car for 2022. The daring and radically different concept did not work. Competitor Red Bull, with whom we had a close race for the title last year, pulled away.

Despite all the problems and only one win in 2022, they initially stuck to the concept in 2023, but ultimately had to admit their failure and radically modify the car. The result was a winless season, the first since 2011.

Hamilton’s departure is a loss of face

In the middle of the sporting reconstruction, Hamilton’s departure bursts – and with it an enormous loss. The record world champion was the figurehead of the German car manufacturer for more than a decade. Together they wrote one of the most dominant chapters in Formula 1 history. Hamilton himself always emphasized that he wanted to work for the Mercedes brand even after his career ended. Suddenly all of this is history.

Apparently Hamilton now believes his rival Ferrari has a better chance of winning the eighth world championship title he is aiming for, with which he would finally surpass Michael Schumacher and become the sole record world champion.

Replacements are difficult to find

It is a damage to the image, which is likely to play a role in the minds of the Mercedes bosses around team boss Toto Wolff when considering Hamilton’s successor. The problem that Mercedes has to solve is that there will be enough drivers on the market who are eager for a place in the “Silver Arrow”. After all, the contracts of up to 12 of the 20 drivers in the field expire after the season. But absolute top drivers like Max Verstappen, Charles Leclerc or Lando Norris are not included.

There are all question marks behind the other pilots currently being traded: Williams driver Alexander Albon? Although he has performed well in an inferior car over the past two years, he had previously worked for a top team with Red Bull – and failed there. Mick Schumacher? He has a well-known name, but after two very mixed seasons with backbencher Haas, there are certainly doubts about whether he is made for a top team.

Alonso as a dangerous option

The most prestigious driver on the market is certainly Fernando Alonso. The exact term of his contract with Aston Martin is not known, but it is assumed that the working paper expires at the end of the season. The Spaniard is a two-time world champion and could best compensate for the loss of image caused by Hamilton’s departure. But Alonso will already be 43 years old at the start of the 2025 season, so it would be a temporary solution at best.