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Formula 1

Leclerc in ‘different situation’ over F1 future for first time

by Scott Mitchell-Malm
3 min read

Charles Leclerc has acknowledged he is in a “different situation” regarding his Formula 1 future, as he “slowly” begins conversations with Ferrari over a new contract.

Leclerc was on Ferrari’s books at the end of his junior career, moved into F1 with Ferrari’s customer team Sauber in 2018, and signed a long-term deal with Ferrari at the end of his first season with the team in 2019.

That deal ends next season and though it is widely expected that he will strike a new one, Leclerc has been repeatedly linked with other teams – first Mercedes, and subsequently Aston Martin.

Their respective line-ups will likely remain the same next season although it is possible that a seat may be available by 2025, if for instance Lewis Hamilton retires or Aston Martin decides to replace an ageing Fernando Alonso or an underperforming Lance Stroll.

Fernando Alonso Aston Martin Charles Leclerc Ferrari F1

Asked about the apparent widespread interest in him and how that may be a nice position to be in, Leclerc admitted: “Yeah, I mean, it’s probably the first time in my career that I’m in this position!

“I don’t think it’s because nobody wanted me in the past! But just because of the nature of the contract, it’s the first time in my career that I actually get closer to a deal to end in Formula 1.

“And all of the other changes I’ve made until now, which is basically Sauber to Ferrari, it was quite straightforward.

“So yeah, it is a different situation I find myself in in my career.

“But I don’t mind. I just focus on driving, I just hope to win as quickly as possible with Ferrari for now, and then we’ll see.”

Charles Leclerc Ferrari F1

Both parties have repeatedly stressed there is no hurry to begin formal contract negotiations, with Leclerc stating there is no particular deadline to get it done.

And his admission that they are “slowly starting to speak about it” was heavily caveated.

“It’s not really on my mind yet,” he said. “When I say we slowly start talking about it, it’s just here and there but nothing specific.

“I feel like it’s still a long way to go. And I don’t feel it’s now the time to start talking about it.”

He added: “It’s just jokes here and there. Nothing formal or specific.”

Leclerc is deeply loyal to Ferrari and his affection for the brand is well-established.

He has said he wants nothing more than to win with Ferrari again, and it is now nearly a full year since their last victory.

Ferrari thought it would fight for the title this season but that hope has been emphatically extinguished due to Red Bull’s advantage and the fact Ferrari is struggling to even be second-best.

Charles Leclerc Ferrari F1

Mercedes is recovering from its own issues in this aerodynamic ruleset while Aston Martin has made a big step forward, and both teams are ahead of Ferrari in the championship.

Leclerc is happy to bide his time with a year and a half remaining on his contract, although he says it is not a matter of wanting to keep his options open.

“Ferrari has been the team that has helped me to get to where I am,” he said.

“I’ve never hidden that I’ve always been extremely happy to be at Ferrari.

“Of course, the team and I are not happy where we are at the moment, but I think we are working in the right direction. And I am confident that we are working in the right direction.

“I love Ferrari. So, I’m happy here.”

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