Lewis Hamilton’s recent announcement that he will be moving from Mercedes to Ferrari for the 2025 season has well and truly shocked the F1 world.
This will bring an end to an iconic partnership between Hamilton and Mercedes which included six drivers’ championships titles and eight consecutive constructors’ championships over the last decade.
In this piece let’s take a look at some of the biggest driver moves to ever happen in Formula One.
Lewis Hamilton: Mercedes to Ferrari (2024)
The latest driver move must be up there as one of the most shocking in Formula One history. Even 24 hours before the move was announced no one had a clue that Hamilton would be lining up in the Ferrari for the 2025 season.
Only as recently as August 31st, 2023, Hamilton signed a contract extension with Mercedes keeping him with the Sliver Arrows until the end of 2025. This makes this move even more unbelievable.
Sebastian Vettel: Red Bull to Ferrari (2015)
Back in October 2014, Red Bull announced Sebastian Vettel would no longer race for Red Bull after the 2014 season. Vettel a product of Red Bull’s driver development programme, won four consecutive drivers’ titles between 2010 to 2013.
However, as the hybrid era began in 2014 the Red Bull and Vettel could not match the success of the last four years as Vettel finished fifth in the drivers’ championship.
This led Vettel to leave Red Bull to join Ferrari with the aim of emulating his boyhood hero Michael Schumacher who won five titles with the Italian outfit. Vettel only managed to win 14 races with Ferrari during his six seasons.
Lewis Hamilton: McLaren to Mercedes (2013)
The man who shocked the F1 world this week with a surprise move was at it back in 2012 when he replaced Schumacher at Mercedes ahead of the 2013 season.
During his time at McLaren Hamilton was very competitive in his rookie season back in 2007 he came close to winning the title but in 2008 his first of many drivers’ championships came in dramatic fashion just beating Felipe Massa. For the years which followed Hamilton couldn’t win another title with McLaren.
In 2012 Hamilton announced he would be leaving title challengers McLaren to join Mercedes for the 2013 season. This left many questioning why as Mercedes were relatively new on the Formula One grid joining in 2010 and they weren’t competitive in their first two seasons in the sport.
This all changed when Lewis Hamilton joined the Sliver Arrows leading to eight consecutive constructors’ championships from 2014 to 2021. Hamilton managed to add six drivers’ championships to his tally as he chased Schumacher’s record to become the most successful Formula One driver in history.
Fernando Alonso: Renault to McLaren (2007)
Back in 2006, Fernando Alonso was on top of the world after winning his second successive drivers’ championship title with Renault and quickly establishing himself as one of the best drivers on the F1 grid.
Following his success at Renault this earned him a move to the most successful team in F1 history McLaren which has seen legendary drivers such as Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost.
For the 2007 season, Alonso’s teammate would be a rookie named Lewis Hamilton who he would have a rivalry with during his time at McLaren and he even had a fallout with then-team principal Ron Dennis this turbulent season led Alonso to finish joint second on 109 points with Hamilton.
Ultimately one season at McLaren was enough for Alonso who returned to Renault for the 2008 season but would later join Ferrari and then return to McLaren.
Kimi Raikkonen: McLaren to Ferrari (2007)
Kimi Raikkonen’s move from McLaren to Ferrari was a gamble for both parties. For Ferrari, they were entering a new era following Schumacher’s retirement in 2006 and Raikkonen knew he had to live up to Schumacher’s performances after he won five drivers’ championships with Ferrari.
The gamble worked out as Raikkonen was ice cool as he went on to win the 2007 drivers’ championship just narrowly beating the two McLarens of Alonso and Hamilton in the final race of the season. However, since Raikkonen no Ferrari driver has been able to win the drivers’ world championship.