New contract not a priority, insists Leclerc


Out of contract at the end of 2024, Charles Leclerc insists that securing a new deal with the Scuderia is not his priority at present.

And who can blame him?

Despite the departure of Sebastian Vettel at the end of 2020, thereby leaving the Monegasque as the de facto number one, the team has never truly rediscovered the form shown a year earlier until the FIA stepped in.

While there have been glimpses of promise, the team's long tradition of bad strategic calls, poor reliability, management reshuffles and a seemingly genuine desire to shoot itself in the foot have left the tifosi feeling that the wait for the next title may exceed that between the triumphs of Jody Scheckter and Michael Schumacher.

None of which helped Leclerc, undoubtedly one of the best drivers on the grid, yet seemingly destined to become another of F1's 'bridesmaids' as a result of his loyalty to one team.

Out of contract at the end of 2024, the Monegasque has been lined with Mercedes, but on the German team's current form that might be a case of jumping from the frying pan into the fire.

Despite the continuing problems at Ferrari, Leclerc remains committed to the Maranello outfit, though he sees no need to commit to another contract just yet.

"I think every driver has considered their different options, once they get the possibility," he said, according to Autosport. "But I have a huge love of Ferrari. And my first target, my first dream, is to become a world champion with Ferrari, more than anything else.

"So, if there's a slight opportunity for it to happen, I will have no doubt about pushing to stay here at least," he added.

However, when pushed on when negotiations might get underway, he said: "I think it is not probably the priority at the moment: not for me, but neither for the team.

"We are just focusing on what's really important now. It is to be as competitive as quickly as possible again. And then we'll see. But again, I love Ferrari and it feels like home."

Meanwhile, team boss, Frederic Vasseur, talking to Gazzetta dello Sport, said of the youngster: "Charles wasn't expecting a season like this and at the beginning he pushed harder than he should have, now he seems to have digested the situation better.

"As a character Charles is impulsive," he added, "if something doesn't go well he doesn't hold back. However for his and the team's sake, sometimes it is better to calm down before talking.

"In the heat of the moment you don't have all the information you need to form a definitive judgement, and in front of an open microphone it is better to take your time.

"He is still very fast, but this year if you look at qualifying, Carlos has been more up to it than in the past."

As for the speculation repeatedly linking Lewis Hamilton with Ferrari, the Frenchman said: "I talk to him at every GP, he raced for me 20 years ago and we are still close.

"I helped him when he went to McLaren at the beginning of his F1 career and we talk every now and then," he added. "Obviously if we are seen together in the paddock, a big fuss is made, but the relationship has remained.

"I don't want to compare him to our drivers, it wouldn't make sense," he insisted. "But the contribution of a top driver is not just about driving, it's also technical, about strategy, about helping to hire an engineer. And in this case if you have Hamilton, Verstappen and also Leclerc it's easier.

"Those who work in F1 are passionate about racing, they like working with champions."

Article from Pitpass (

Published: 15/08/2023
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