Seven-times Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton has activated a release option in his contract and will leave Mercedes at the end of the season, the team said on Thursday.
He is expected to join Ferrari in 2025 in a sensational move that has been the talk of the sport.
"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," said Hamilton in a statement that did not mention Ferrari.
"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."
Hamilton said he wanted to finish his time at Mercedes on a high and was "100 percent committed to delivering the best performance I can this season and making my last year with the Silver Arrows, one to remember".
The 39-year-old Briton is set to replace Spanish driver Carlos Sainz alongside Charles Leclerc and give the Italian team a world champion in one of their cars for the first time since Germany's Sebastian Vettel left in 2020.
The biggest driver move since Hamilton left a winning McLaren for a then-unproven Mercedes at the end of 2012 came as a surprise despite speculation over the years that it could happen.
Hamilton is the sport's most successful driver and Ferrari the oldest, most glamorous and successful team and both are hungry to end lean periods.
The driver has not won a race since December 2021 and Ferrari have not won a title since 2008.