The reason for Hamilton's sudden switch to Ferrari revealed

Embark on a thrilling journey through the twists and triumphs of Lewis Hamilton's extraordinary motorsport career, shaped by key decisions and the influential partnership with Fred Vasseur, culminating in his historic move to Ferrari

by Sededin Dedovic
The reason for Hamilton's sudden switch to Ferrari revealed
© Dan Istitene / Getty Images

Lewis Hamilton's motorsport journey has been nothing short of extraordinary, marked by numerous triumphs and key career decisions that have shaped the landscape of Formula 1. The story begins in 2005 when Hamilton made his mark driving for the French ASM F3 team, winning the European Championship.

His prowess on the track caught the attention of many, paving the way for his rise to the higher echelons of racing. As a very young driver competing in F3, he attracted a lot of attention from the public due to his incredibly aggressive driving, and rarely anyone was allowed to engage in "crazy" driving like the then young Hamilton.

The following year, Hamilton graduated to the GP2 series with Vasseur's rebranded ART Grand Prix outfit, where he once again demonstrated his exceptional talent by winning the championship. It was a testament to his skill and determination, setting the stage for his inevitable move to Formula 1 with McLaren.

Hamilton's partnership with McLaren marked the start of a brilliant career at the pinnacle of motorsport. His time in the team was marked by numerous victories and fierce rivalries, which cemented his status as one of the greatest drivers of his generation.

However, as on any journey, twists and turns awaited him on the horizon. The start of 2023 brought a significant shift in Hamilton's trajectory as Fred Vasseur, the mastermind behind Hamilton's success in the lower formulas, embarked on a new chapter with Ferrari.

Speculation is rife that Hamilton could follow suit, capitalizing on the strong relationship between driver and team principal over the years.

Ferrari Team Principal Frederic Vasseur© Dan Istitene / Getty Images

True to speculation, Hamilton's decision to join Ferrari materialized at the start of the year, one of the biggest changes in the history of the sport.

The decision to give up the remaining year of his contract with Mercedes was not made lightly, considering his role and status for the German team, the choice was very difficult. Hamilton revealed the key role he played in his journey, citing their shared history of success in the lower formulas as the basis of their lasting relationship.

He says that he himself expected Vasseur to be an F1 manager because of his great knowledge in this sport. "I have a great relationship with Fred," Hamilton said when asked by Autosport. "Obviously I raced with him in F2 and we had incredible success in F3 and also in GP2.

That's really where the foundation of our relationship started. We've always kept in touch. I thought he would be a great team manager at some stage and progress in F1, but he wasn't interested in that at the time." The prospect of reuniting with Vasseur at Ferrari was undoubtedly significant for Hamilton, serving as the catalyst for his decision to embark on a new chapter in his career.

He signed with Mercedes this summer, but seems to have easily changed his mind when it comes to Ferrari. If Hamilton did not want to continue with Mercedes, he would not have signed the contract, but it is obvious that the popular Italian F1 team was the only one that Hamilton would have moved to.

Ferrari is of course the most successful F1 team, so even the best drivers are not immune to the invitation to join the Italian giant. "Obviously I signed in the summer, and obviously then I saw my future with Mercedes, but the opportunity came at the end of the year and I decided to take it," said Hamilton.

“I feel like it was obviously the hardest decision I've ever had to make. I've been with Mercedes, I think they've supported me for 26 years and we've had an absolutely amazing journey together," Hamilton concluded. While Hamilton's departure from Mercedes marked the end of an era, it also heralded the start of an exciting new chapter with Ferrari.

For a long time, the transfer of one driver to another F1 team did not attract more public attention. The lure of donning the iconic red livery and writing his own chapter in the Scuderia's history proved irresistible for Hamilton, fulfilling a long-cherished childhood dream.

Lewis Hamilton (R) of Great Britain and McLaren listens as Michael Schumacher (L) of Germany and Mercedes GP© Clive Mason / Getty Images

"For any driver growing up, watching history, watching Michael Schumacher in his prime, I think we're probably all sitting in our garage and seeing the screen pop up and you see a driver in a red car and you wonder what it would be like to be surrounded by red." Hamilton has a lot of respect for Schumacher even though he holds the first place together with him in terms of titles won in F1.

Really great professionalism from the British driver according to the F1 legend, even though Hamilton has even more wins than Schumacher. Although he was also associated with Aston Martin because he is great friends with Toto Wolf, he stated several times that he would like to drive for Red Bull as well, his friendship and long-term cooperation with Vasseur were crucial.

Ferrari Lewis Hamilton