Lewis Hamilton Set For Shock Move To Ferrari, Kenyan Fans React

Hamilton's current contract with Mercedes is due to expire at the end of 2025 but he is reported to depart the team after this season (2024)

Lewis Hamilton Set For Shock Move To Ferrari, Kenyan Fans React
Formula One Driver Lewis Hamilton posing for a photo. /FILE

Seven-time Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton is on the verge of a move to Team Ferrari from Team Mercedes in 2025 in what fans around the world have termed a global-shaking development.

UK sports media outlets Sky Sports News and BBC Sport reported on the news and suggested that formal confirmation could come as early as Thursday, February 1, with US-based ESPN citing sources within Formula 1 as saying the deal was “as good as done.”

Autosport, Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport and other media are among other outlets who reported on the 39-year-old's rumoured move to Scuderia Ferrari which holds the record for the most constructor championships in F1 at 16, despite their last win coming in 2008.

The team also holds the record for the most Drivers' Championships with 15, won by nine different drivers: Alberto Ascari, Juan Manuel Fangio, Mike Hawthorn, Phil Hill, John Surtees, Niki Lauda, Jody Scheckter, Michael Schumacher and Kimi Räikkönen, most of whom Kenyans who have watched the motorsport over the years have known them for.

Lewis Hamilton checking on a Ferrari car during a Formula One race event. /MALTA TODAY

While neither Mercedes nor Ferrari were yet to issue an official statement on the developments by the time of publishing this article, the move would come as a surprise given that Hamilton has signed a two-year contract with his current team Mercedes for the 2024 and 2025 seasons, but the deal reportedly contains a clause allowing him to leave after one season.

Hamilton won the last of his world titles in 2020 but controversially lost the 2021 championship to Max Verstappen, 13 years his junior. The Dutch Red Bull driver has dominated ever since, while Hamilton finished sixth in the drivers' standings in 2022 and third in 2023.

Ferrari, who have admitted they held discussions with Hamilton in 2019 about joining them in the future, declined to comment on the reports they were negotiating a switch for the 2025 season.

Pending the confirmation, Kenyans on social media seized the opportunity to do what they do best; make merry with the huge developments through an array of hilarious jokes and memes.

X user Joseh posed "I have an ask. Mercedes fans who were supporting Mercedes because of Lewis Hamilton, are you all moving with him to Ferrari?"

Warui John weighed in, citing the series of underlying issues that have hit Mercedes for two seasons running, majorly on the design of their race cars as well as the direction Mercedes itself was taking, with Hamilton on record questioning this.

"And from the look of things seems Mercedes won't bounce back till the new engine era in 2026! Ferrari had a title challenger in 2022 but the Technical Directive 039 affected them too much and since then, things haven't been the same...so it will be interesting to see how things will pun out In case Hamilton joins the Italian outfit," he added.

Should the move to Ferrari materialise, it could trigger a mass exodus as fans who were made to support Mercedes because of Hamilton would switch allegiances to Ferrari and as some veteran F1 fans here will tell you, they used to support Ferrari and even owned Ferrari apparel and merchandise.

Hamilton's current contract with Mercedes is due to expire at the end of 2025 but he is reported to depart the team after this season (2024) and replace Carlos Sainz at Ferrari, partnering with Charles Leclerc who recently signed a contract extension.

The superstar, who has a significant following among Kenyans, visited Kenya on August 7, 2022, and toured Samburu County where he expressed his love for animals by posing for photos with baby giraffes and elephants.

Hamilton visited the Reteti Animal Sanctuary in Samburu and showed appreciation to its hosts as well as its work to rescue research and conservation.

"They take in orphaned animals who likely wouldn’t make it on their own and release them back into the wild when they’re strong enough. This was a truly centring experience, one that reinforces that we all share this planet.

"We’re not above animals, we’re with them. More often, we’re guests in their homes. Every day in the motherland is more beautiful than the last. Much love, Kenya," he wrote on social media at the time.

Hamilton celebrates his birthday every January 7, a birthdate he shares with former Prime Minister, Raila Odinga.

Seven-time Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton with a baby giraffe in Kenya. /LEWIS HAMILTON.INSTAGRAM