THE FORMULA ONE grid could look very different in 2025 with a number of drivers potentially on the move.
Racing fans are gearing up for another season of speed and excitement.
But the opener in Bahrain on March 2 has already been overshadowed by a major development.
That’s because Lewis Hamilton will leave Mercedes at the end of the year for rivals Ferrari. The shock switch is certainly going to have a knock-on effect, as it means there will be a seat free at Mercedes.
Hamilton’s move to Ferrari is also set to spell the end of Carlos Sainz’s time with the Italians. His contract is up at the end of the campaign, while teammate Charles Leclerc’s runs into 2025.
Meanwhile, Alex Albon looks destined for a big move. He has been linked with replacing Hamilton at Mercedes.
But Albon has also been tipped to join champion Max Verstappen at Red Bull.
That would put Sergio Perez back on the market, while there are numerous other drivers out of contract later this year.
Fernando Alonso, Pierre Gasly, Esteban Ocon, Valtteri Bottas, Zhou Guanyu, Kevin Magnussen, Nico Hulkenberg, Daniel Ricciardo, Yuki Tsunoda and Logan Sargeant face uncertain futures in F1 next year.
But all eyes will be on Hamilton when he lines up for Mercedes in his final campaign with the Germans.
After signing his Ferrari deal, the seven-time champion said: “I have had an amazing 11 years with this team and I’m so proud of what we have achieved together.
“Mercedes has been part of my life since I was 13 years old.
“It’s a place where I have grown up, so making the decision to leave was one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make.
“But the time is right for me to take this step and I’m excited to be taking on a new challenge.
“I will be forever grateful for the incredible support of my Mercedes family, especially Toto for his friendship and leadership and I want to finish on a high together.
“I am 100 per cent committed to delivering the best performance I can this season and making my last year with the Silver Arrows, one to remember.” — The Sun.