Leclerc ‘slowly’ starts new Ferrari contract talks
By Ian Parkes
Friday 30th June, 2023 - 4:33am
Charles Leclerc has conceded to “slowly” starting talks on a new contract with Ferrari at a point in his F1 career when he appears to be in demand for the first time.
Leclerc still has another 18 months to run on his deal which, by his own admission, remains “a long way to go”.
Yet there has been considerable speculation regarding the future of the 25-year-old who has been linked with Mercedes and Aston Martin in recent weeks.
That is primarily due to the ongoing poor form of Ferrari this year following hard on the heels of his failed championship bid last year that petered out under a myriad of strategic errors, unreliability, and personal mistakes following a strong start.
The suggestion is Leclerc is unlikely to hang around if Ferrari is unable to again challenge Red Bull as it did for most of 2022.
Leclerc insists there are “no particular deadlines” to resolving the matter which is almost certain to drag on into next year.
As to whether discussions had started with Ferrari, Leclerc replied: “Slowly. We’re slowly starting to speak about it, yes.”
Asked by Speedcafe whether he was keeping his options open, Leclerc added: “To be honest, it’s not really on my mind yet.
“When I say we slowly started talking about it, it’s just here and there, but nothing special, nothing specific.
“Again, I feel like there’s still a long way to go and I don’t feel it’s now the time to start talking about it.”
Underlining his allegiance to Ferrari, he said: “Ferrari has been the team that has helped me to get to where I am. I’ve never hidden that I’ve always been extremely happy to be in Ferrari.
“Of course, the team and I are not happy with where we are at the moment, but I think we are all working in the right direction, and I am confident that we are working in the right direction.
“Again, I love Ferrari. I’m happy here.”
At least Leclerc is enjoying seemingly being a wanted man, if there is any truth behind the rumours linking him with two of Ferrari’s main rivals
“It’s the first time in my career that I’m in this position,” said Leclerc.
“I don’t think it’s because nobody wanted me in the past but just because of the nature of the contract, and the other changes I’ve made until now – Sauber to Ferrari, which was basically quite straightforward.
“So it is a different situation but I don’t mind just focusing on the driving. I just hope to win as quickly as possible for Ferrari for now, and then we will see.”