Let’s face it, there’s only one F1 news story in town right now: Lewis Hamilton is leaving Mercedes to join Ferrari at the end of the 2024 season.
Is it sinking in yet? Maybe it is for Mercedes boss Toto Wolff, who addressed the media – including PlanetF1.com’s Thomas Maher – for the first time since Hamilton’s shock switch was made public.
Here’s Friday’s special Hamilton to Ferrari F1 news round-up…
Mercedes reveal timeline of Lewis Hamilton exit
Wolff has explained how Hamilton told him about his bombshell move to Ferrari for 2025.
After more than a decade racing with Mercedes, in which he claimed six world titles, Hamilton’s shock switch to Ferrari for the 2025 season became public knowledge on Thursday as both teams confirmed the World Champion’s move.
Only last August Hamilton had renewed his Mercedes deal with an apparent two-year deal to take him to the end of 2025, but exercised an option in his contract to leave after just a single season in order to make the jump to Ferrari.
Toto Wolff addresses Hamilton ‘frozen out’ fears
With almost a year to go before he leaves for Ferrari, the potential for things to get awkward between Hamilton and Mercedes over the rest of 2024 is obvious.
Will the team – consciously or otherwise – gravitate towards George Russell when it comes to key decisions like pit stops and new upgrades? Will Hamilton will kept at a distance in team meetings to prevent him taking all Mercedes’ secrets to Maranello?
Wolff addressed these fears in his sit-down with the media.
Wolff discusses Sebastian Vettel F1 comeback with Mercedes
Could Sebastian Vettel emerge as an option to replace Hamilton at Mercedes?
There has been a lingering suspicion since he retired at the end of 2022 that Vettel is not finished with F1 yet – and he would surely relish the opportunity to return with Mercedes.
Wolff has commented on the rumours of a move for Vettel, revealing the pair are in regular contact – including, interestingly, on the day Hamilton’s exit was announced this week.
Key Mercedes loss a potential factor in Hamilton decision
The departure of Mercedes engineer Loic Serra played a role in Hamilton’s decision to leave the team, it has been claimed.
Reports suggest Serra shared Hamilton’s dim view of the Mercedes zero-pod concept pursued by former technical director Mike Elliott.
Hamilton claimed after the opening race of 2023 in Bahrain that Mercedes’ technical department had ignored his guidance over the design of the doomed W14 car, with Serra recruited to Ferrari by Fred Vasseur – Hamilton’s 2006 title-winning GP2 boss – last year.
George Russell wades into Lewis Hamilton replacement debate
If we know George Russell like we think we know George Russell, he will regard Hamilton’s imminent departure from Mercedes as sweet, sweet victory.
Lewis couldn’t handle the heat, G-RUS will say, so he got out of the kitchen. Or he went from the frying pan to the fire – whichever cooking-based analogy you prefer.
Russell appeared to name his preferred choice to replace Hamilton in a fascinating social media post.