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Two champions join forces: A guaranteed success?

“Ask a child to draw a car, and certainly he will draw it red.”

Enzo Ferrari’s infamous adage encapsulates just how synonymous the iconic rouge of the Ferrari brand is within the world of motor racing and Formula 1. With people left reeling after the announcement that the sport’s most successful driver, Lewis Hamilton, is moving to the Italian team for the 2025 season, remembering how iconic the Scuderia are in the sport sheds some light on the British driver’s decision. Ferrari are the pinnacle of Formula 1, the most recognisable and successful team in the sport’s history. They are the team of great champions such as Ascari, Lauda, and Schumacher, and they are the team that every driver dreams of joining. Hamilton’s social media post discussing the announcement reveals these aspirations: “the chance to fulfil another childhood dream: driving in Ferrari red.”

The romance of the move cannot be denied. And not only is Hamilton fulfilling his own dream, but also that of his idol and hero, the incredible Ayrton Senna, whose own ambitions of driving for Ferrari were shattered by his tragic death at Imola in 1994. It is also a move that strategically makes sense for Hamilton: he is still chasing that record breaking eighth world title, and aged 39, he knows that time isn’t necessarily on his side. That’s not to say that his powers are fading, but rather the fact that he doesn’t have the future ahead that he had when he jumped from McLaren to Mercedes in 2013. The Silver Arrows were knocked off their perch by Red Bull in 2021 and have since struggled to regain ground that they’ve lost on their mistaken development paths. Comparing the trajectories of Hamilton’s current and future teams, one can argue that despite it having been 16 years since their last world title, it is Ferrari who are in a period of ascendancy and look capable of mounting a challenge to Red Bull.

After copious years of experience in the sport, we can be assured that Hamilton has made his decision based on trust in the team, entrenched in belief in what he has seen from a technical standpoint.He clearly has greater faith in Ferrari’s ability to assist his title ambitions than he does in Mercedes to put him back on top. Having been on the border of retirement following his heart-wrenching loss in 2021, and frustrated with Mercedes’ stagnant development for the last two years, Hamilton’s move is driven by a renewed confidence for what these new Italian pastures may bring. It was this same confidence in the face of public uncertainty that delivered his Mercedes success post McLaren-switch, and one has a feeling that History could be repeating itself. 

For Formula 1 as a whole, this is a fantastic move. Take the most iconic team in the sport’s history and the most successful driver, and couple them up for the end of a glittering career. It is set to attract greater interest as even part-time onlookers will recognise the union of two household names and will be keen to see how the move unfolds. For those of us lucky enough to call ourselves Ferrari fans, we are delighted, and we see this as a sign that real, consistent success is just around the corner.

But what does it mean on the inside of the sport? Firstly, Mercedes have been caught off guard by this move, and will now have to look for a driver to sit alongside George Russell. Will this move send a message that Hamilton has fled from a sinking ship and dissuade other drivers? And what will become of Carlos Sainz, Ferrari’s Spanish sensation who has driven superbly alongside Charles Leclerc, but now finds himself out of a job in a year’s time? 

‘Silly season’, a period of intense rumour mill activity that comes around at the midpoint of each Formula One calendar, where drivers and principals announce or deny their movements to other teams, is set to be exceptionally silly this year. Will Russell be joined by his close friend Alex Albon, who has been a rejuvenated force in his Williams seat, or will they dip into an unproven junior talent? The talented Lando Norris has just signed a contract extension with McLaren, but could a better offer sway him before 2027? Will Sainz, gearing up for a rumoured Audi spot in 2026, take Checo Peréz’s unsteady Red Bull seat next year?

Only time will tell if Hamilton’s move pays off in terms of success for him and his future team. What is certain is that this seismic move will cause some fascinating ripple effects across the Formula 1 Grid over the next year. Maybe another year of Verstappen dominance on the track might just help us all calm down.

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