Lewis Hamilton is on the brink of a blockbuster move to Ferrari in 2025, the PA news agency understands.

Hamilton, 39, is entering the first of a new two-year deal with Mercedes worth £100million.

But it is understood the seven-time Formula One world champion is eligible to leave Mercedes at the end of the year.

PA has been told that confirmation of Hamilton’s transfer to Ferrari could be announced as early as February 1.

Both Mercedes and Ferrari declined to comment when contacted by PA.

Seven-time Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton has been linked with a surprise move to Ferrari for the 2025 season.

Reports in the Italian media have suggested the British driver could leave Mercedes at the end of the upcoming campaign.

Hamilton, 39, has raced for Mercedes since 2013 and signed a contract extension with the team last year.

Charles Leclerc is confident “the best is yet to come” after signing a contract extension with Ferrari.

Leclerc was one of a raft of Formula One drivers heading into the final year of his contract, along with Ferrari team-mate Carlos Sainz, but the Scuderia announced on Thursday that the Monegasque has agreed a new long-term deal.

The 26-year-old, who made his F1 debut with Sauber before joining the Italian team in 2019, has won five grands prix including a famous home victory for Ferrari at Monza in his maiden season.

Leclerc finished fifth in the standings last season as Ferrari, who have not won a drivers’ title since 2007, continued to trail Red Bull and Mercedes but he is confident that he is in the right team to achieve his dream of winning the world championship.

“I’m very pleased to know that I will be wearing the Scuderia Ferrari race suit for several more seasons to come,” Leclerc said.

“To race for this team has been my dream since I was three years old: I used to watch the Monaco Grand Prix from the window of a friend’s apartment and I would always look out for the red cars.

“This team is my second family ever since I joined the Ferrari Driver Academy in 2016 and we have achieved a lot together, fighting through thick and thin over the past five years.

“However, I believe the best is yet to come and I can’t wait for this season to start, to make further progress and be competitive at every race.

“My dream remains that of winning the world championship with Ferrari and I’m sure that in the years ahead, we will enjoy great times together and make our fans happy.”

The 2024 season gets under way in Bahrain on March 2, with Ferrari hopeful their car will be able to fight with a Red Bull team who have dominated the sport for the last two seasons.

Ferrari team principal Frederic Vasseur added: “We are determined to give Charles a winning car and I know that his determination and commitment are elements that can make the difference in helping us reach our goals.”

AlphaTauri have been rebranded as the Visa CashApp RB team ahead of the new Formula One season as part of a partnership between Visa and Red Bull.

Red Bull and Visa announced a new, multi-year global partnership on Wednesday afternoon which will see new livery appearing on the cars of reigning world champion Max Verstappen and team-mate Sergio Perez.

The agreement will also see Visa become the named sponsor of the rebranded AlphaTauri team, Red Bull’s sister marque.

The Visa CashApp RB team will make their debut at the 2024 season opener in Bahrain in March, with Daniel Ricciardo and Yuki Tsunoda behind the wheel.

Previously known as Toro Rosso, AlphaTauri was introduced onto the F1 grid in 2020 in order for Red Bull to promote their fashion brand of the same name.

While known as AlphaTauri, the team managed one win in 83 race entries as Pierre Gasly took the chequered flag at the 2020 Italian Grand Prix at Monza.

Future Red Bull world champions Verstappen and Sebastian Vettel both raced under team’s guise of Toro Rosso, with the latter taking the sole victory of the previous incarnation.

Madrid will rejoin the Formula One calendar from 2026 after signing a 10-year deal to host the Spanish Grand Prix.

Having last staged a grand prix in 1981, F1 announced on Tuesday morning that the Spanish capital would host the race on a new circuit with both street and non-street sections, and with the expectation that more than 110,000 fans per day will be able to attend.

Barcelona’s role as race hosts – the Spanish Grand Prix has taken place at the Circuit de Cataluyna since 1991 – could now come under threat but it has a contract up to and including 2026, meaning both cities are currently slated to run grands prix that year.

The PA news agency understands Madrid winning a contract to stage a race does not automatically mean Barcelona will drop off the calendar in two years’ time, with organisers still in discussions as to whether it will remain a part of the plans moving forward.

The upcoming season will see a record 24 grands prix take place as the sport continues to grow in new markets, attracting more interest from prospective venues.

Madrid last held an F1 grand prix in 1981 at Jarama – a race won by the Ferrari of Gilles Villeneuve.

But, with the sport aiming to be net carbon neutral by 2030, shifting the race to a city-centre venue with easier transport links and closer hotels will help achieve that overall aim.

In announcing the new Madrid race, F1 said: “Formula One has today announced that the Spanish Grand Prix will be held in Madrid from 2026 to 2035 inclusive following an agreement with IFEMA MADRID to bring a brand-new circuit to the Spanish capital, which will incorporate both street and non-street sections.”

“The new 5.47km circuit, subject to FIA homologation and final design specification, will feature 20 corners, with a projected qualifying lap of one minute 32 seconds.

“Built around the world class IFEMA exhibition centre, the circuit will also incorporate a premium Paddock building with a new race tower and office spaces, VIP hospitality and entertainment areas.

“Located in the city of Madrid and five minutes from the Madrid-Barajas Adolfo Suarez Airport, the Spanish Grand Prix will become one of the most accessible races on the F1 calendar.

“With the circuit just a short commute away by Metro, train and city lines, it is estimated that 90 per cent of fans will be able to travel to the Paddock via public transport, while fans staying in local accommodation will be a short walk away.”

The new F1 season gets under way in Bahrain on March 2, with the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona due to take place on June 23.

Formula One has announced Madrid will join the calendar from 2026, with the Spanish capital set to host its first race in 45 years.

The upcoming season will see a record 24 grands prix take place as the sport continues to grow in new markets, attracting more interest from prospective venues.

The PA news agency understands Madrid winning a contract to stage a race does not mean Barcelona – which has hosted F1 since 1991 at the Circuit de Catalunya – will drop off the calendar, although their contract does expire at the same time.

Madrid last held an F1 grand prix in 1981 at Jarama – a race won by the Ferrari of Gilles Villeneuve.

World champions Shericka Jackson and Antonio Watson were crowned Jamaica’s Sportswoman and Sportsman of the year, respectively, at the 2023 RJRGLEANER Sports Foundation National Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year Awards ceremony at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel on Friday.

Jackson claimed the award for the first time after a phenomenal 2023 season which saw her successfully defend her World 200m title with a personal best 21.41, the second fastest time ever, in Budapest in August.

In addition to her 200m title, Jackson also ran 10.72 for 100m silver. She ended her season with the sprint double at the Diamond League Final in Eugene with times of 10.70 and 21.57, respectively, in September.

The 29-year-old also achieved a new personal best in the 100m with 10.65, the fifth fastest time ever, to defend her National title in July.

Antonio Watson shocked the world to become the first Jamaican man in 40 years to win 400m gold at the World Championships.

After running a massive personal best 44.14 in the semi-finals, the 22-year-old produced 44.22 to take gold in the final. Watson also ran 44.54 for second at the National Championships in July.

Watson also took home the people’s choice award for his gold medal winning performance.

Danielle Williams was named runner-up for Sportswoman of the Year while Hansle Parchment was runner-up for Sportsman of the Year.

Williams, like Watson, shocked the world in Budapest by claiming her second 100m hurdles World title, the other coming all the way back in 2015.

Parchment, the reigning Olympic champion, claimed his second World Championship silver medal with a 13.07 effort in Budapest. He followed that up in September with a new personal best 12.93 to win at the Diamond League Final in Eugene.

The recipient of the 2023 Icon Award was 400m hurdles Olympic and World champion Deon Hemmings-McCatty while West Indies Under-19 batsman Jordan Johnson was named the winner of the VM Group Y.O.U.T.H award.

Some other athletes receiving awards for their individual sports included CAC Games bronze medallist Tahlia Richardson for badminton, Ricardo “Big 12” Brown for boxing, Sherea Clarke and Wayne McCalla for bodybuilding, West Indies batter Rashada Williams for cricket and Sara Misir and Fraser McConnell for motorsport.

Arguably Jamaica’s two most successful sports teams, the Sunshine Girls and the Reggae Girls, were given special awards for their performances in 2023.

The Reggae Girls were rewarded for their historic performance at the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand from July 20-August 20.

They became the first Caribbean team ever, male or female, to advance to the Round of 16 at a FIFA World Cup.

The Sunshine Girls also had a historically good year with a gold medal at the CAC Games held in El Salvador from June 25-29 and bronze at the Netball World Cup held from July 28-August 6 in South Africa.

That World Cup also saw the Jamaicans get their first ever World Cup win over world number one and eventual champions, Australia.

Jamaican Formula Woman driver Sara Misir is the Motorsport Athlete of the Year in the women's category for the RJR/Gleaner Sportsman and Sportswoman Awards 2024.

 Misir's victory marks her third consecutive year taking home the award.

 Misir, who dominated the MP3 class in 2022, took on the new challenge of competing in the MP4 class for the 2023 local season. Despite an early setback due to mechanical failure, she completed the season with a solid performance, securing a P1 and P2 finish at the Dover Raceway in St. Ann at 'Heroes of Speed' on October 16. Misir also recorded the quickest lap of the day by any driver, recording 1.25.84 seconds.

 She also extended her Formula Woman run, competing in the GT Cup Championships at the Donnington Race Track in England on September 16 and 17. Misir and teammate Alana Carter finished seventh in class at the GT Cup Championships finale at Snetterton on October 7 and 8.

 Misir was grateful for the award and expressed what motivates her most, "It's always an honour to represent women in motorsports both here in Jamaica and internationally. It is also a team effort, and I wouldn't be here if it weren't for the hard work of my amazing team and my coach, Rugie Misir, who is by my side every step of the way."

 Despite experiencing mechanical failures at some of the earlier meets on the local calendar, Misir remains committed to inspiring another generation in motorsport. "I know that I represent so many women and girls who compete in male-dominated spaces, so that fuels me to keep going. I know how important this is beyond myself." Misir added.

Jamaican professional racing driver Fraser McConnell expressed gratitude at being nominated for the RJR Gleaner National Sportsman of the Year award for a second time.

“Getting nominated for sportsman of the year again is a huge honor,” said the 25-year-old.

McConnell had a successful debut season in Extreme E as his X44 Vida Carbon Racing team secured the fourth position in the Extreme E Championship finale in December.

Owned by Sir Lewis Hamilton, the X44 Vida Carbon Racing team achieved a third-place podium finish in the final two rounds at the Copper X Prix in Antofagasta, Chile, earning 121 points to secure the fourth spot overall.

In Round 5 and final, despite a major setback due to a collision in the switch zone, X44 finished the race eight minutes slower than Veloce Racing, the eventual winner. This victory placed Veloce in third place in the final standings with 155 points, while Sainz XE took second place with 177 points. Rosberg X Racing (RXR) was crowned champions with 182 points.

“To be able to represent Jamaica on the international stage doing what I love and being up there with the other best athletes in the country is a big honor and big motivation for me to keep going,” he said.

“Regardless of the decision the judges make, it’s still such a great success and achievement. Just going to keep my head down, keep focused and keep going and flying the flag everywhere I go,” added McConnell.

The favorite for the award would have to be trailblazing Jamaican sprinter Antonio Watson who made history as the first Jamaican man in 40 years to clinch the gold medal in the World Championships 400m.

The list of male nominees also features World Championships 110m hurdles silver medalist and Diamond League champion Hansle Parchment, along with standout long jumpers Wayne Pinnock, Tajay Gayle, the silver and bronze medalists from Budapest as well as Pan American 400m hurdles champion Jaheel Hyde.

 

Brandon Shor and Nicholas Barnes, Jamaica's top karting and circuit racing drivers, will be the country's recipients of the FIA American awards presented by NACAM.

Shor, who began his career in 2018 to pursue a similar path as his racing idols, multiple Formula One Champion Lewis Hamilton, and Jamaican karter Alex Powell, took home the Abe Ziadie Trophy, the sport's highest honour in 2022 after dominating his class and collecting the most points of any other karter.

The diminutive driver had another superb season last year, as he again outclassed the competition which has resulted in his pending award.

Meanwhile, Barnes, the 2022 Red Bull drift champion, also ended 2023 on a high with three wins in as many races. He copped the overall drivers' championship as well as the MP2 class championship.

The FIA American award ceremony and gala dinner will take place in Panama City, Panama on February 3, 2023.

JMMC in a released extended commendations to both Shor and Barnes 'for their National Championship achievements and FIA America awards."

 

Guenther Steiner, the star of Formula One’s ‘Drive to Survive’ series, has been sacked by Haas.

The 58-year-old Italian earned a cult following his X-rated outbursts on the successful Netflix show.

But Steiner’s reign as team principal for the American team is over after owner Gene Haas dispensed of his services with immediate effect.

Steiner had been team principal at Haas since the team entered F1 in 2016. But they finished 10th and last in the most recent constructors’ championship, scoring points at only four of the 22 races.

He will be replaced by Ayao Komatsu, the Japanese Loughborough University graduate who is promoted from his role as trackside engineering director.

“Moving forward as an organisation it was clear we need to improve our on-track performances,” said Gene Haas.

“In appointing Ayao Komatsu as team principal we fundamentally have engineering at the heart of our management.

“We have had some successes, but we need to be consistent in delivering results that help us reach our wider goals as an organisation.

“I’m looking forward to working with Ayao and fundamentally ensuring that we maximise our potential – this truly reflects my desire to compete properly in Formula One.

“I’d like to extend my thanks to Guenther Steiner for all his hard work over the past decade and I wish him well for the future.”

Off the back of his newfound Netflix fame Steiner released his own book last year, while it was also reported that he is set to be involved as a producer on a sports-based fictional comedy show with US broadcaster CBS.

Speaking on Sky Sports last month, Steiner insisted his extracurricular activities were not hindering his role as team principal.

“It is a balance, and you have to be careful it doesn’t take too much time,” he said. “But writing the book didn’t take time.

“I always tried to do it while I was doing other things. I try to be very efficient and if there is a comedy with CBS I will not be performing in it.

“Everybody in the team is in a good place, financially as a business, and technically, too. We had a tough last year, but we could end up at the top of the midfield in 2024.”

The new season starts in Bahrain on March 2.

Jamaicans Tommi Gore and Senna Summerbell have partnered to drive an all-Jamaican entry in the 2024 ADAC GT4 Germany race series. They will be driving an Audi R8 GT4 prepared by the SAPE Motorsport race team.

The ADAC GT4 Germany is a grand tourer-based auto racing series that is largely held in Germany as part of the ADAC GT Masters, using GT4 vehicles. The 2024 series, intended as a springboard for young talents, has more than 30 vehicles from 16 teams from 5 countries registered and will feature six rounds of racing at legendary tracks throughout Germany and Austria.

Each round begins with two qualifying sessions and features two one-hour races per race weekend. A driver change must be made between the 25th and 35th minute of each race, which means that Gore and Summerbell will share driving duties for every race.

Speaking at a recent media event hosted by team sponsor Sherwin Williams, Tommi said he is “really grateful for the opportunity.”

 For Summerbell, it was good to have the sponsors on board.

“Happy to have Sherwin Williams on board, hopefully we do well for them and well for ourselves. I’m proud to be part of this racing team with Tommi, we’ve been racing all of our lives together in go-karts and cars, and to drive with him and become teammates is a great feeling and hopefully we do it together in Germany and represent Jamaica," Summerbell said.

The duo’s first race is April 26-28, at the Motorsport Arena Oschersleben in Oschersleben, Germany.

Jamaica's karting sensation Alex Powell is gearing up to write a new chapter in his racing career, as he recently inked a deal with Prema Racing to compete in its 2024 Formula 4 programme.

Powell, who displayed immense potential on the karting circuit where he secured numerous top three finishes in some of Europe's top-class championships, is now aiming to add to his karting successes, though he is well aware that Formula 4 presents much more formidable opponents.

“I’m happy to continue my journey with Prema Racing, since I started with them earlier in karting. We finished off to a great karting career and I look forward to continuing developing as a single seater driver with this incredible team. I’m grateful for this opportunity and I will continue to do my best with the amazing support of the Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team Junior Programme," Powell declared.

Powell, a Mercedes-AMG F1 protege, whetted his appetite for Formula 4 competition late last year, and will on this occasion, enjoy his first full season in European and Italian Formula 4 championships.

Prema Racing's Team Principal Angelo Rosin welcomed Jamaican Powell to Prema’s Formula 4 team for 2024, noting that the 16-year-old is the first drive to transition from Prema’s karting team to its F4 team.

“Alex is a really promising driver. We followed him during his early years, and we were delighted to welcome him to our new karting team for 2023. When he made the step up to cars, he was impressive despite the steep learning curve and made solid improvements every time he went on track…we are looking forward to seeing what’s ahead for us," Rosin said.

Jenson Button and Damon Hill have paid tribute to Indy 500 winner Gil De Ferran, who has died aged 56.

The Brazilian reportedly suffered a heart attack in Florida.

Button wrote on Instagram: “Still in shock that we lost one of the good ones so young, one of the best behind the wheel and all round great guy Gil De Ferran. I will miss that wonderful smile, rest in peace my friend.”

 

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Fellow Formula One world champion Hill tweeted: “One of the nicest guys I ever met. He made me laugh. He got it.

“Jesus, Gil, you left too soon. My sincere condolences to his lovely family and all who knew him (there are many, many, many) and all at McLaren. He was a fighter and a winner. Big loss.”

De Ferran won the Indy 500 for Team Penske in 2003.

Team boss Roger Penske said in a statement: “We are terribly saddened to hear about today’s tragic passing of Gil De Ferran. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Angela, Anna, Luke and the entire De Ferran family.

“Gil defined class as a driver and as a gentleman. As an INDYCAR Champion and an Indianapolis 500 winner, Gil accomplished so much during his career, both on and off the track.

“Gil was beloved by so many. He was a great friend to the Team Penske and INDYCAR family, as well as the entire international motorsports community. Gil’s passing is a terrible loss and he will be deeply missed.”

Michael Schumacher’s one-time rival Damon Hill has described the German’s plight as a “terrible tragedy” and a reminder to “treasure every day”.

On Friday, it will mark 10 years since Schumacher’s skiing accident in the French Alps where he hit his head on a rock and suffered a near-fatal brain injury.

Schumacher, now 54, has been kept out of public view ever since, with only a handful of visitors allowed inside the family home near Lake Geneva in Switzerland where he is receiving round-the-clock medical care.

The former Ferrari and Benetton driver claimed the first of his seven world championships following a controversial season finale in Adelaide in 1994 where he was accused of ramming Hill off the road.

Reflecting on Schumacher’s condition, Hill, 63, told the PA news agency: “It is a terrible tragedy. This is not how you want anyone to end up.

“It makes you treasure every day and be thankful for your good fortune. I think about his family. It is so hard for them.”

Updates regarding Schumacher’s health have been few and far between, and a representative for the family told PA that there are no plans to acknowledge the anniversary of his accident.

His wife Corinna, offered a rare insight on her husband’s state in a Netflix documentary in 2021.

“I miss Michael every day,” said Corinna, who has enforced a wall of secrecy to protect one of the biggest names in modern sporting times.

“But it is not just me who misses him. It’s the children, the family, his father, everyone around him. I mean, everybody misses Michael, but Michael is here.

“Different, but he’s here, and that gives us strength. We’re together. We live together at home. We do therapy. We do everything we can to make Michael better and to make sure he’s comfortable. And to simply make him feel our family, our bond.

“‘Private is private’, as he always said. It’s very important to me that he can continue to enjoy his private life as much as possible. Michael always protected us and now we are protecting Michael.”

Schumacher added to the two titles he won at Benetton with five championship triumphs for Ferrari at the turn of the century, posting a series of records many viewed as untouchable.

Lewis Hamilton has since matched Schumacher’s collection of titles and surpassed his 91 wins. Hamilton, 38, who is contracted to drive for Mercedes until the end of 2025, has 103 victories.

Schumacher’s son, Mick, is currently a reserve driver for Hamilton’s Mercedes team having spent two seasons with Haas before he was dropped at the end of last year.

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