Formula 1: Lewis Hamilton Mercedes exit rumor heats up

Carlos Sainz Jr., Ferrari, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Formula 1 (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Carlos Sainz Jr., Ferrari, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Formula 1 (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) /

Speculation over Lewis Hamilton’s Formula 1 future has been heating up, and the Mercedes driver has been linked to a team that he has been linked to before.

Entering the 2023 Formula 1 season, there is a clear top driver on the short list of pending free agents for 2024. Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton most recently signed a contract extension with Mercedes in the summer of 2021, one which tied him to the team through 2023.

Given Mercedes’ fall from Formula 1 supremacy amid a new era of rules and regulations which began in 2022, Hamilton has been in a car simply not capable of competing for what would be a record-breaking eighth world championship.

The 2022 season saw Mercedes win just one race after an eight-year stretch during which they averaged nearly 14 per year, and it also saw Hamilton’s personal 15-year win streak come to a screeching halt with his worst career result in the standings.

He has said that he believes he will win an eighth world championship, which would break Michael Schumacher’s all-time record, before he retires.

Can Lewis Hamilton still do that at Mercedes?

Until the pen is put to paper, there will be speculation about the 38-year-old Briton’s future. Anything less than that for a 103-time Grand Prix winner would be bizarre.

Hamilton has expressed frustration with certain individuals discussing a potential post-2023 move and insisted that now simply isn’t the time to discuss an extension, but he was also recently quoted as accusing the Silver Arrows of not listening to his feedback on last year’s W13, and by association, this year’s W14.

Is the end near for Formula 1’s all-time most successful driver-team pairing?

A rumor has recently emerged about Hamilton’s future, suggesting that if he does leave Mercedes, Ferrari would be his most likely destination.

Since the new era of rules and regulations began, Ferrari have been the one team that have consistently been in the same time zone as Red Bull.

Many believe that the self-inflicted wounds and errors last year cost Charles Leclerc and the Italian team at least a shot at challenging Max Verstappen and Red Bull for the title, and it’s not the first time. On paper, they could have made it interesting against Hamilton and Mercedes in both 2017 and 2018.

It is worth mentioning that the Hamilton to Ferrari rumor is nothing new, so whether or not it should finally be taken with more than a grain of salt remains to be seen.

Every few years, it resurfaces, and nothing ever comes of it, even though Hamilton has long stated that driving for the team is something that is “a dream for everyone”. Of the five drivers to win at least four world titles, Hamilton is the only one who has never driven for the Scuderia.

It is also worth mentioning the fact that both Leclerc and Carlos Sainz Jr. are under contract with the team through the 2024 season. Of course, we have seen teams get out of contracts with drivers early, most recently with Daniel Ricciardo at McLaren last year, so nothing is off the table.

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Will Hamilton and Mercedes ultimately come to terms on a new contract, or will the 2023 Formula 1 season end an 11-year run? If he leaves, is Ferrari his most likely landing spot?