British Formula One star Lewis Hamilton will leave Mercedes and join Ferrari for the 2025 season, Sky Sports News understands.
It is understood Mercedes staff will be briefed by the chief executive of the firm’s F1 team, Toto Wolff, ahead of a formal announcement later today.
Hamilton has previously been linked with Ferrari, but signed a two-year contract worth £100m last summer to stay until the end of 2025.
As part of the deal, it is understood the seven-time world champion is eligible to leave Mercedes at the end of the year.
He is expected to replace Carlos Sainz at Ferrari.
Sainz’s contract is due to expire at the end of 2024, while Ferrari’s other driver, Charles Leclerc, recently agreed a new long-term deal.
Before his current contract was signed, Hamilton told ESPN in May 2023 that he would be “lying” if he said he had “never thought about ending my career anywhere else”.
“I thought about and watched the Ferrari drivers on the screens at the track and, of course, you wonder what it would be like to be in red,” he added.
But he went on to describe Mercedes as “home” and added he was happy where he was.
The move would end an extraordinarily successful partnership, with Hamilton winning six world titles in the space of seven years from 2014 to 2020.
However, Mercedes have since fallen off the pace and Hamilton has not won a race since 2021.
Former world champion Damon Hill said the star was likely to still be smarting from the end of the 2021 season, when he lost the lead in the last moments of the final race after a controversial restart.
Hill told Sky that Hamilton had “been licking his wounds,” adding: “Maybe he didn’t think there were strong enough signs from Mercedes that they’d solved their problems, that they were going to give him an all-conquering car.
“He doesn’t want to hang around to make up numbers. Maybe Ferrari is just that added spice that you need to motivate yourself one more time for another last push at it – and what a way to go out if you’re with Ferrari.”
Asked if the move would improve his chances of winning another title, Hill said that may not be the point.
“If Ferrari’s chances are as good as Mercedes’, then why not Ferrari? Ferrari has that cachet,” he said.
“It’s also something different, there’s always a spring in your step if you change to a new team, the optimism of going somewhere different”.
Neither Mercedes nor Ferrari have commented.
Before his stint with Mercedes, the 39-year-old raced for McLaren.
The new F1 season begins with the Bahrain Grand Prix on 28 February.