Lewis Hamilton in line for shock Ferrari switch from Mercedes in 2025

On the move: Lewis Hamilton is expected to leave Mercedes for Ferrari in 2025 (AP)
On the move: Lewis Hamilton is expected to leave Mercedes for Ferrari in 2025 (AP)

Lewis Hamilton will make a shock move to Ferrari for the 2025 season.

Just weeks out from the start of this season, the seven-time world champion is expected to officially announce he has put pen to paper imminently on a deal with the Italian marque.

The bombshell news emerged on Thursday morning with reports in the Italian media following years of Hamilton being linked to Ferrari.

And staff at Mercedes' headquarters in Brackley were informed by team principal Toto Wolff and technical director James Allison on Thursday afternoon that Hamilton would not stay on at the team beyond the end of this current season.

Neither Mercedes nor Ferrari were commenting on Thursday on news of a move that would shake up the grid.

The 39-year-old had been heavily linked with a switch to Maranello last season before signing a new contract with Mercedes, which was believed to tie him in for the next two years.

But reports have since emerged that Hamilton was tied to his current team, whom he joined in 2013, for this season alone with an option for another in 2025.

Rumours over Charles Leclerc’s possible team-mate after this season have been circulating for some time after Ferrari held back from offering a new deal to Carlos Sainz, who is now expected to leave the team at the end of what is a marathon 24-race season.

Hamilton has made no secret of his desire to seal an eighth drivers’ title before retiring and has had two seasons of struggles with the former dominant team of the sport.

He had spoken more optimistically about Mercedes’ chances going into this season following a major upgrade of their faltering car. But his decision to cross the grid to Ferrari hardly indicates he has a strong belief in his current team’s chances of closing the gap on frontrunners Red Bull.

Hamilton had looked set to end his career at Mercedes when he announced his latest deal last season and had talked about a number of projects he wanted to complete with the team, with which he has spent the past decade, over diversity and racial equality.

His initial move to Mercedes from McLaren back in 2013 was seen as a gamble but it paid off handsomely as he won six further drivers' titles to add to his first in 2008.

Ferrari have not won the constructors’ championship since that 2008 season, with Kimi Raikkonen their last driver to take the title in 2007.

Ferrari believe a big-money move for Hamilton is the latest part in their quest to return to the dominance of the Michael Schumacher era.

As for Hamilton, who has not won a race since December 2021, he has held talks with Ferrari over the years but none have got to the stage of convincing him to switch.

Aside from that eighth title, which would put him clear of Schumacher in the all-time record books, 103-time grand prix winner Hamilton has made no secret at points in his career of driving for a brand as iconic as Ferrari.

While no deal has been made official at this stage, it leaves Mercedes with a gaping hole to fill by the end of the season, which gets under way in Bahrain on March 2.

George Russell has a contract with the team until the end of 2025 and the list of prospective team-mates is not immediately clear.

Leclerc is tied into a long-term deal with Ferrari, Lando Norris put pen to paper on a lengthy contract extension with McLaren last month and Verstappen is contracted to Red Bull until 2027.