The seemingly annual rumor regarding seven-time Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton leaving Mercedes for Ferrari is finally set to come true in 2025, as Hamilton has decided to end his stint with the Silver Arrows after 12 seasons and replace Carlos Sainz Jr. at the Prancing Horse, joining Charles Leclerc.
Though we remain a month away from the start of the 2024 season, which Hamilton is still set to contest with the team he joined back in 2013, this news has unsurprisingly taken the Formula 1 world -- and really the entire motorsports world -- by storm.
Given the fact that the news came out just one day after Formula 1 released a statement rejecting Michael Andretti's attempt to join the sport with an 11th team, several fans, however, have a conspiracy theory.
Lewis Hamilton news planned as damage control?
While the initial doubters of the Hamilton news have come to terms with the fact that it is indeed happening, some fans believe that the news was intentionally left covered up until after Formula 1 said what they said about Andretti.
After putting out a totally nonsensical statement regarding why they don't want Andretti and his Andretti Global team as an 11th team in the sport until at least 2028, compared to the 2026 target the organization had been aiming for, there was a massive outrage on social media.
American fans were among those most peeved by Formula 1's arrogance, with many hinting that the sport's recent surge in the United States would ultimately be followed up by an even bigger decline following their smug and half-witted decision.
But the disappointment was really felt by all fans who know the value that Andretti would bring to the sport, both on the commercial side and from a competition standpoint.
Considering how pathetic some of Formula 1's logic was -- and some of the teams that are currently allowed on the grid -- the outrage was fully justified. Mario Andretti said that he was simply "devastated".
But when the Hamilton to Ferrari news was reported, nearly all of the attention immediately shifted over to that, as expected.
Was it set up like that? That's hard to say, and there's really no way to prove one way or the other, but what is safe to say is that the suspicious fans may be onto something.
Based on a clever Ferrari sponsorship image from a few days ago, it does appear that Hamilton to Ferrari was a done deal well before the Andretti statement came out. Plus, how often does a driver change for the following season get announced before the current season even begins?
Let's also not forget that Ferrari, Mercedes, and Hamilton were all against the idea of Andretti joining the grid. Sainz and Leclerc also stated that they had known about the Hamilton news for quite some time before it was announced.
So whether it was carefully planned out like this or not, there is certainly an element of damage control here that cannot be denied. Maybe the fans are onto something. Or, maybe it's just Twitter being Twitter.