Lewis Hamilton has said his blockbuster 2025 Ferrari move will fulfil a "childhood dream" and compared it to the "leap of faith into the unknown" he made to join Mercedes in 2013.
Hamilton stunned the racing world and his Mercedes team this week by signing a deal with Ferrari starting next season, although he will see out the final year of his existing contract with Mercedes.
It will end a lifelong affiliation with the Mercedes-Benz brand, which included the start of his F1 career with McLaren in 2007 and then continued with the company's main team.
Hamilton has won six of his seven career championships with Mercedes, contributing to the team's dominant run of constructors' titles between 2014 and 2021.
In a post on X, Hamilton said: "It's been a crazy few days which have been filled with a whole range of emotions."
He will join a Ferrari team that has not produced a drivers' champion since Kimi Raikkonen in 2007 or won the constructors' title since 2008.
"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 fulfil another childhood dream. Driving in Ferrari red," Hamilton said.
The move Hamilton made from McLaren to Mercedes in 2013 was one many pundits and fans predicted would be a disaster, but turned into the most successful partnership in F1 history.
Hamilton, a rookie in 2007 and now 39 years old, said his feeling around this team change is similar to his last.
"The time is right to make a change and take on a new challenge," he wrote. "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."
On the coming season with Mercedes, he said: "However, right now, I'm not thinking about 2025. My focus is on the upcoming season and getting back out on track with Mercedes. I am more driven than ever, I am fitter and more focused than than ever and I want to help Mercedes win once again. I am 100% committed to the job I need to do and determined to end my partnership with the team on a high.
"Thank you to all of you who have been on this journey with me, you have all lifted me up as I chase my dreams and I hope I can continue to make you proud. As always, sending you my love and positive energy."
The British driver also paid tribute to Mercedes boss Toto Wolff and the late Niki Lauda, the three-time world champion and former team executive who helped him leave McLaren for Mercedes in 2013.
"Mercedes has been a huge part of my life since I was 13 years old, so this decision has been the hardest I've ever had to make. I'm incredibly proud of all that we've achieved together and I'm very grateful for the hard work and dedication of everyone I have worked with over the years and of course Toto, for his friendship, guidance and leadership," Hamilton said.
"Together we have won titles, broken records and become the most successful Driver-Team partnership in F1 history. And of course I cannot forget Niki who was a huge supporter and who I still miss everyday.
"I must also share my huge appreciation to the whole of the Mercedes-Benz board and everyone at the company in Germany and around the world for supporting me over these 26 years."