Wow! It's almost a week since the news broke, and I'm still shocked. I never thought Lewis Hamilton would leave Mercedes and drive for Ferrari. Yes, it was always a tiny fun idea, and of course, almost every F1 driver/fan's dream is to drive for the Scuderia, but c'mon, we didn't think it would happen. WELL, it happened. Lewis Hamilton will leave Mercedes at the end of this upcoming season and race for Ferrari at the start of the 2025 F1 season.
Now, I'll save the whole debate on whose greater, Michael Schumacher or Lewis Hamilton? However, it is 100% accurate that Lewis is the most accomplished driver in F1 history, with 7 World Championship Driver titles and the most F1 race wins of all time. This adds to why the move is so shocking because the success between Mercedes and Lewis goes hand in hand with one of the most dominant dynasties in all of sports history. I thought Lewis and Mercedes were going to be cemented together forever, meaning finishing his career and working with the team, similar to how Nikki Lauda worked with Mercedes for the rest of his life.
What has become very apparent is the following: Mercedes wasn't prepared to invest in Lewis; they undervalued his financial presence to the brand, and that became very obvious once the news broke, which sent Ferraris's market cap up almost $7B the day the news broke. $7B is crazy! Continuing, what's apparent is that Lewis is still bitter, and he should be with how the 2021 season ended in Abu Dhabi between the FIA, Red Bull, and Mercedes that costing him his 8th World Championship. In his quest for #8, it is clear he believes that he cannot achieve that with the current and future state of car development at Mercedes. We had heard rumblings over the last two years that the team was not listening to Lewis' feedback in terms of car development, and that has shown not only with this move but with Mercedes falling to Red Bull in this new era.
So what does this all mean for 2024 and for the future of both these teams? It's going to be a strange season at Mercedes. Are we going to have a competitive season, and is the car even capable of being competitive for race wins? Or will we see a strange farewell tour and resentment from Mercedes because, at the end of the day, this is a major distraction? Every race week, the media will be talking about it, and it will 100% distract from the team's focus on competing. How will this affect George Russell, and will we see the team start to prioritize George and almost keep Lewis away from strategy and car development? Can Mercedes ever recover from this, and will Toto be able to bring Mercedes back to championship contention? These are massive questions for the brand and a team that's had so much success both on and off the track with lucrative financial deals from major brands globally. I feel privileged to have lived through the Mercedes dynasty, but now I feel like it's going to be a long road back to the top step of the podium.
As for Ferrari, a brand that has never fully recovered since the departure of Michael Schumacher, this is a very exciting time to be a part of the Tifosi. Really the laughingstock of F1 these past few years with all the issues on track and the lack of performance. This was exactly what they needed. A driver pairing of Charles Leclerc and Lewis Hamilton makes them the best driver duo on the grid, and if they can get reliability and engineering back to their old ways, it won't surprise me if we see them win before Lewis walks away and maybe perhaps he will get #8.
As for me, I'll continue to support Mercedes and, of course, root for Lewis as he chases his 8th title.