LONDON — Lewis Hamilton acknowledged that his impending move to Ferrari for the 2025 Formula 1 season represents a “childhood dream.”
The seven-time world champion announced his future plans last week, although he will serve out the final year of his contract with Mercedes in 2024.
The 39-year-old British driver has recorded 103 wins, which are the most in F1 history.
“I feel incredibly fortunate, after achieving things with Mercedes that I could only have dreamed of as a kid, that I now have the chance to fulfill another childhood dream. Driving in Ferrari red,” Hamilton wrote during a lengthy post on Twitter.
Hamilton has been with Mercedes since leaving McLaren in 2013. He has won six of his seven championships with Mercedes.
“The time is right to make a change and take on a new challenge,” Hamilton wrote according to Reuters.
“I still remember the feeling of taking a leap of faith into the unknown when I first joined Mercedes in 2013.
“I know some people didn’t understand it at the time but I was right to make the move then and it’s the feeling I have again now. I’m excited to see what I can bring to this new opportunity and what we can do together.”
But first things first, Hamilton said. There’s the matter of the 2024 season, and he says he’s going to give Mercedes his all.
“Right now, I’m not thinking about 2025. My focus is on the upcoming season and getting back out on track with Mercedes,” Hamilton wrote.
“I am more driven than ever, I am fitter and more (focused than) ever and I want to help Mercedes win once again. I am 100 per cent committed to the job I need to do and determined to end my partnership with the team on a high.”
In 2017, as a rookie driver for McLaren, Hamilton finished third in his debut race to record the first of his record 197 podiums.
Melbourne has hosted the opening round of the Formula 1 season in 22 of its 26 runnings since the race was relocated from Adelaide in 1996.
The first rounds of the 2006 and 2010 seasons were held in Bahrain because of scheduling issues.
The 2020 Australian Grand Prix saw the entire Formula 1 paddock travel to Melbourne, only to have the event postponed and later cancelled just hours before practice was scheduled to begin as the COVID-19 pandemic gripped the world.
The race was then not held in 2021 because of COVID-19 before returning to the calendar as the third race of the season in April 2022.
Australia has been the third stop ever since and will be again when the Formula 1 circus returns to town next month.