Lewis Hamilton’s switch to Ferrari for 2025 has come as no surprise to James Vowles, who said it’s “Lewis all over”.
Last week, Ferrari confirmed that the seven-time F1 World Champion will join the Scuderia in 2025, with Hamilton having exercised an option in his Mercedes contract to leave after a single year of his new contract.
Hamilton will leave the Brackley-based squad after more than a decade in which he and Mercedes became the most successful driver/team partnership in F1 history by claiming six drivers’ championships together.
James Vowles: Ferrari is a ‘force of nature’
Speaking to media, including PlanetF1.com, on Monday from Williams’ season launch in New York City, current Williams team boss James Vowles shared his thoughts on Hamilton’s switch.
Vowles, who joined Williams as team boss in early 2023, was Mercedes’ chief of strategy for the entirety of Hamilton’s tenure until Vowles left, and he said that he wasn’t surprised his former colleague had plumped for a new challenge in his career.
“Lewis’s [switch] – the timing came as a surprise to me,” he said.
“His want and desire to be in a Ferrari at some point in his career, no, I think most world champions have either been there or have a desire to be there.
“Because it’s a force of nature, it is still the most successful team in Formula 1. It is, and that can’t be ignored.”
With Hamilton turning away from the team with which he conquered the world of Formula 1 to set new records, Vowles said his willingness to move from his comfort zone is indicative of the high-level sportsman Hamilton is.
“It gives an opportunity to really question,” he said.
“It’s the hardest thing you do. For every human in the world to move from where you’re comfortable to where you’re not… it challenges you and pushes you to the limits, and that’s Lewis all over.
“So the fact he’s doing it, I actually think it’s good for the sport, it’ll be good for Lewis, because he’ll learn from it, and he will challenge himself.”
With his former team now bereft of a World Champion driver in their line-up for the first time since re-entering Formula 1 in 2010, Vowles said he has no doubts Mercedes will find the right person to fill his boots and move forward.
“It’s not good for Mercedes short-term,” he said.
“But, actually, I think you’re gonna see they’re going to be absolutely fine on where they get to on drivers, and they’ll come back stronger as a result.
“So, ultimately, it’s a good thing all around in time.”