Although it is not clear if a final contract has been signed, understands that negotiations are at an advanced stage and could be concluded by the end of this week.

Ferrari has long been interested in Hamilton’s services but its overtures have previously been rejected because the seven-time champion felt Mercedes offered him a better route to success.

However it now appears that, off the back of two challenging seasons for Mercedes, Ferrari is now close to convincing Hamilton that it is a better bet for the future.

Last year Hamilton signed a multi-year contract with Mercedes for 2024 and 2025 but it now appears that the second season may have only been an option.

That means Hamilton will have an escape clause that means, if he signs for Ferrari, then he will be able to join from 2025.

Both Ferrari and Mercedes have declined to comment on the situation.

Lewis Hamilton at Austrian GP 2023

Mercedes' future

Should Hamilton’s move be confirmed, it will be a huge blow to Mercedes – which went through lengthy contract negotiations with him last year to secure his services into this year.

Speaking just after the deal was done, Hamilton was at pains to suggest that he had belief that Mercedes had learned the lessons from its challenging 2022/2023 seasons, and could enjoy a chance to return to glory with its all new car for this campaign.

Asked by at last year’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix if he ever doubted getting back to the front, he said: “No, not when we were doing negotiations.

“I do have faith that we will get there, we have been here before as a team, and while we have more and more new people, we still have a great values, I see great focus within everyone.

He added: “I think for this year [2023] they thought the fundamentals were good and we just have to go here and it’s not the case. That’s why I was frustrated in February, because they hadn’t made the changes I’d asked (for).  

“But with the changes we are making, I hope I was, I hope we are right and, yeah, but I guess we have no idea what the Red Bulls are going to do.” 

It is unclear what has been the trigger point for a potential change of heart over Hamilton’s commitment to Mercedes, where he had been expected to see out his F1 career.

Early indications from the Mercedes wind tunnel have pointed to the new W15 being a good step forward for the squad, while the German manufacturer recently made clear that team boss Toto Wolff and technical director James Allison had extended their contracts for the long term.

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