The break clause that paved the way for Lewis Hamilton’s shock Ferrari move

Key details of how Lewis Hamilton's move to Ferrari came about have emerged.

Lewis Hamilton at the 2023 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Lewis Hamilton at the 2023 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton has chosen to exercise a break clause in his Mercedes F1 contract in order to seal a shock move to Ferrari.

The seven-time world champion only signed a new two-year extension to remain with Mercedes last summer, but his contract contained a break clause after one year.

Hamilton has opted to take up that exit option in order to complete a bombshell switch to Ferrari from the 2025 season.

The 39-year-old Briton has agreed a deal to become Charles Leclerc’s teammate, replacing Carlos Sainz.

Mercedes staff were informed about Hamilton’s decision in a meeting with team principal Toto Wolff on Thursday afternoon.

Hamilton’s decision to join Ferrari is arguably the biggest driver move of the 21st century, seeing F1’s most decorated driver partner with the sport’s most famous and successful team.

Mercedes and Ferrari confirmed the deal on Thursday evening. 

Ferrari president John Elkann is understood to have been the driving force behind the move to lure Hamilton away from Mercedes.

“My understanding is that this courtship [between Ferrari and Hamilton] has been going on for some months,” Sky Sports F1 reporter Craig Slater said on Thursday. 

"It’s not a sudden thing. John Elkann, the president and a very heavy-hitter, is very much at the centre of it and the driving force.

“Team principal Fred Vasseur is someone Lewis knows from the junior days so there’s no friction there.

“It’s not like the chairman has signed someone over the manager’s back, that you sometimes get in football! This isn’t like that.”

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