Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Yas Marina, 2019

Leclerc signs five-year Ferrari contract

2020 F1 season

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Charles Leclerc will remain at Ferrari until at least 2024 after signing a contract extension with the team.

The 22-year-old won two races in his first season at Ferrari during 2019, his second year in Formula 1. He said he is “very happy to be staying on with Scuderia Ferrari.”

“This past season, driving for the most illustrious team in Formula 1 has been a dream year for me,” he added, “I cannot wait to enjoy an even deeper relationship with the team after what has been an intense and exciting 2019. I’m keen to see what the future holds and I can’t wait to get going again next season.”

Leclerc’s team mate Sebastian Vettel, who joined Ferrari in 2015, has one year left on his current contract with the team.

Team principal Mattia Binotto said Leclerc’s strong performance in his first season with the team made it an easy decision to retain him.

“With each passing race this year, our wish to extend our contract with Charles became ever more self-evident and the decision means he will now be with us for the next five seasons,” he said. “It demonstrates that Charles and the Scuderia have a firm future together.

“Charles has been part of our family since 2016 and we are more than proud of the results we are achieving with our academy. We are therefore very pleased to be able to announce that he will be with us for many years to come and I’m sure that together, we will write many new pages in the history of the Prancing Horse.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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67 comments on “Leclerc signs five-year Ferrari contract”

  1. Well I would say that that sends out a fairly strong statement.

    1. @nullapax, whilst it was always likely that Ferrari would extend his contract, the fact that it is five years is a little surprising – I’d have thought three would have been more likely, given that is more usually closer to the average contract length.

    2. Above all it is a sign someone at Ferrari knows what they are doing, this guy is sharp, unlike Ferrari.

  2. Expected a deal, but didn’t expect a 5 year deal!

    I presume he believes Ferrari are probably best placed team in terms of long-term standing – Merc already making repeated contradictions on their commitment, Honda could pull the plug again at any minute, anything Renault-related isn’t even worth considering atm. We could well end up with another Ferrari “decade of dominance” if everyone else pulls out or can’t pull themselves together.

    1. I don’t believe Mercedes nor Honda are going anywhere soon. Could pull the plug at any minute? Well we do know Honda are there through 2021 at least. And Mercedes? Why would they leave? Their presence in F1 along with their run of success is too valuable from a marketing standpoint.

      1. Why wouldn’t they leave? None of these teams stay around. Honda has been in and out for more than 50 years. No reason why Merc hasn’t got what it wanted and moves on.

    2. And what “contradictions” does Merc make?
      Up until now there was not a single one.

    3. History shows that only Ferrari sticks around.

      1. Research. Ferrari Started the sport, Others took up the challenge, Ferrari should OWN the F1 rights, but Marketing was never their string suit.

  3. Makes a lot of sense from both sides to commit for the long term. Alongside on-track performance, Leclerc is a great representative of the Ferrari brand. Basically has Ferrari written all over him.

    1. I thought Hamilton was the one with all the tattoos…

      1. None of them in Italian

        1. What does that have to do with bones in ice cream?

    2. @me4me

      I’ve imagined Ferrari is the least concerned about drivers marketing potential. I just don’t see any driver making great contributions to their sales. Not like Merc who need help reminding buyers of their speed, reliability, and hipness. Ferrari doesn’t have a C-class that needs coolness help.

      I see how having a successful but tough driver, like Leclerc, looks good for them. But not much. Maybe vim missing something?

      1. @slotopen

        “Ferrari doesn’t have a C-class that needs coolness help.”

        Not yet anyways. Ferrari are not the company it once was. They are starting a line of SUVs FFS!

        I posted a similar comment here last week. Sergio Marchionne’s goal was to make Ferrari more like Porsche, high volume sports car manufacturer. Ferrari are a listed company, so they have stockholder obligations. Lewis fits into this picture. Valentino Rossi aside, he’s the most marketable person in the whole motoring industry.

        Will be interesting to see how Leclerc deals with Lewis.

  4. Usually with such a long contract, I am sure there are exit options present with both sides.
    But the fact that Ferrari has gone public with this information is a bigger statement. Time up for Seb!!

    1. If I’ve learned anything over the last 10 years, F1 contracts are barely worth the paper they’re written on, but still 5 years is a long time. Ferrari must have wanted to lock him in now at a lower cost before he has a chance to really jump up in value.

  5. Does anybody know the longest contract Ferrari did?

    1. @notacop Russell, Ocon and Perez have contracts for 2021 (Perez for ’22 as well).

      1. Oops, that was meant for Chaitanya, but I wanted to reply to your comment, too.

        I’d think that might even be the longest ever contract signed in F1, but I’m interested if that’s the case or not.

        1. @hunocsi A quick google search was of no help. Maybe @keithcollantine knows the longest ever contract for a driver?

          1. Pretty sure that Hamilton signed a 5 year deal with McLaren after 2007, circumstances being very similar with a top team looking to lock up a top talent who would be undervalued if no new contract is signed.

            This only matches the Leclerc contract but shows Ferrair aren’t completely breaking the mold here.

    2. @notacop, the situation with Leclerc does have parallels with Alonso’s contract with Ferrari – after joining them in 2010, Alonso and Ferrari renegotiated the terms of his contract and he signed a new five year contract with Ferrari in 2011.

      In both instances, the two drivers already had contracts with Ferrari that had a few years left on their contracts – Leclerc’s contract still had at least three years and Alonso’s at least two years left – but then renegotiated to sign new contracts that had five year terms associated with them. However, Leclerc might be hoping that his time at Ferrari doesn’t end in the same way that it did for Alonso…

      1. Charles had a 2 year contract.

  6. Is he the only one with contract beyond 2020?

    1. @Chaitanya No as apparently both Checo and Ocon are going to be at RP and Renault till 2022 and ’21 respectively.

      1. Thanks for info, it takes these 3(4- Stroll) drivers out of silly season that we are in for.

  7. 5 years! That’s pretty long, I can’t remember such long contracts in the past. Anyone?

    1. Hamilton Mclaren 2008 – 2012

    2. Alonso signed a 5 year deal with Ferrari in 2011.

      1. And that was a success…

  8. While he (fans and F1) would hope it works out… what if Ferrari produces multiple duds in 2021 and beyond?

    I would say signing 5-year contract now is a very strange decision, there was no reason for it.

    1. then he cuts short the contract using his performance clause.
      same thing ferrari will do if he doesn’t perform

      1. I knew you had a copy of this contract!
        What does this “performance clause” say?!

        1. @dallein I take the point of your sarcasm, but it should be noted that drivers have left ahead of their contract expiration date before. Simply, if it gets to the point where in spite of a contract the driver just doesn’t want to be there any more, a team can’t force a driver to drive for them, and the driver is released…with an exchange of money of course.

  9. Ferrari are putting their eggs in the Leclerc basket. 5yrs and no extension for Vettel. It’s make or break for Seb next year.

    1. A cynical would say it’s Leclerc putting all his eggs into the Ferrari basket. Ferrari still has a second car

      1. True, but Ferrari have been fairly reliable at producing race winning cars most seasons. It’s not the worse place to be.

        1. Race winning: yes but championship winning: NO.

    2. I’m afraid I suspect there’s too many “better” options available to Ferrari, so I think next season will be Sebastian’s last at Ferrari.

  10. This isn’t the first time Ferrari have done this. Back in 2011, they also gave Alonso a 5-year extension until the end of 2016. Just like back in 2011, they realize that Leclerc is their present and their future, and they probably want to protect against any speculation over the next few years, while tieing him down to a long contract will probably also mean Mercedes can’t sniff around if they are ever looking for a Hamilton replacement.

    1. @mashiat Let’s hope it goes better for him than it did Alonso.

  11. A lot can be extracted from that.

    It’s a hedge type contract. A protection. Better commiting to 40 million now than 100 later.

    Vettel’s gone. Will he support Leclerc on track in 2020?

    Ferrari is agreeing to the long term with Liberty.

    Hamilton wearing red seems unlikely now. But they played Leclerc well “leaking” those news meaning “we have options, boy”. But I’m sure he’s happy. Maybe even “Daniel Ricciardo” happy!

    Verstappen x Leclerc is the show everyone will be watching in 2020. Forget the Hamilton/Bottas/Vettel we’re sold this year. Liberty couldn’t be happier.

  12. Indirectly, I’d say this is a proof VET is not given no.1/preferential treatment. Ferrari seems to have chosen their future star and VET was shown the exit door.

    1. Most likely HAM will retire after the Mercedes tenure, going to Ferrari is a big risk, he might end up in cry like VET and add a question mark over his records from the last few years… just like some asked rethorically what LEC would have achieved if raced the 2017 and 2018 Ferraris.

      1. I don’t think Hamilton would doubt himself, but I do think this signals Ferrari won’t be getting Hamilton in, paying a lot of money to get a star that competes with their own brand. Even if they see he’d have won them the WDC in the last three years, they likely believe Leclerc might well do the same from next year, with less upheaval in the team.

  13. Unless Mercedes pulls out this likely means Leclerc will not be champion for 5 years. He might lead and feel he has a chance, but as with Alonso and Vettel, frustration will start to creep in, and similarly, should he vent them or start getting flustered he will be damaged goods. Already now it’s clear to teams like Mercedes he will not fit alongside Verstappen.

    1. @balue, I presume that is a reference to Verstappen stating he does not want to be team mates with Leclerc, having declared that he doesn’t want to be in a team with two No.1 drivers in it and specifically using Leclerc as an example of that.

      1. No, I’m referring to Mercedes clear policy of no. 1 driver and wingman. They are the new ‘Ferrari’ in this regard.

      2. @anon Hang on now. I’d like to see a reference to Max’s declaration as you claim. I did an admittedly minor search and found an article from before DR announced his move, in which Max was asked if DR might move as he sensed he (Max) was destined to be number 1 on the team, and Max said he didn’t want that status anyway, as he believes in equal equipment and opportunity to both drivers as it is more rewarding to beat his teammate fair and square. And we certainly never once heard DR complain about unequal treatment. He was obviously extremely competitive along with, and sometimes against, Max. And even when things got tense between them, they got past each tough scenario quickly and got along well.

        I don’t think Max wants nor needs number 1 status on his team(s), nor do I think he fears any driver in F1. It’s ‘bring it on’ for Max, and his absolute number one focus will be not just the job at hand of wringing everything possible out of the car, but at getting himself into a WCC car. The other driver doesn’t matter in that sense, personalities, history, what have you aside.

        Depending on what Max actually says as per your reference, I would think if he truly said he doesn’t want to be CL’s teammate, that might be because that would mean being at Ferrari where they tend to worry the number 1 status thing way more than Max would like. I think he indeed would prefer two number 1 drivers, as in, two drivers treated as top drivers, equally equipped and opportuned to compete.

        1. It doesn’t matter if the driver wants to be number 1 or not… it does matter if Marko and Horner want one though. They have both unashamedly shown preference to one driver over another in the past.

        2. @robbie, it was in an interview that he gave with Ziggo Sport about a week ago, where in an interview discussing whether he would be prepared to partner with Leclerc, he responded “I think that you shouldn’t have two potential number ones driving next to each other.”

          1. @anon Hmm yeah not much to hang one’s hat on with your response and what you are using to support your point. You claim he specifically references Leclerc. Does he? Or does Ziggo Sport? Seems they ask him about Leclerc and he gives a generic answer about two number ones on a team. For all we know what Max means is that he wouldn’t want to be in the situation Ferrari put themselves in this season with their juggling of number ones that caused repeated team orders and politicking between the drivers. Just saying let’s not make it sound like he’s afraid of CL, or of having a strong teammate. He and the team spent the season wishing they had a stronger partner for Max, helping develop the car and getting greater points for the WCC.

            No I don’t think Max fears any driver, but I can see him fearing being told on his team to let his teammate by just because he is designated #1 as a stated policy. In 50/50 situations the nod was to go to SV, and for Max they should just be allowed to race for it weekend after weekend. If he were to go to Ferrari, with CL as the engrained one there, would they tell Max to hold station even if he was faster, like they did to CL? Yeah that would never fly with Max.

    2. @balue No team would field two number one drivers, not because they wouldn’t want to, it’s because it’s too expensive. If Mercedes were to sign Leclerc and Verstappen, that alone would cost them around $100 million in driver salaries. So even if Toto Wolff wanted them both, they couldn’t do it.

      1. @mashiat I am quite sure both Leclerc and Verstappen would drive for free at Mercedes. Who wouldn’t.

        1. Well … Max, Charles, Lewis, Valtteri, Daniel, Nico, Kimi, Sebastian, Sergio, Carlos, are just some drivers I can think of who wouldn’t drive at Mercedes for free.

          1. How do you know? At some point drivers need to understand they can only win at mercedes, it’s either never be champion and get 30 mil a year or win a title for free at mercedes.

  14. 5 years is a very good contract to have…..My problem with Leclerc is he not as good sometimes in traffic particularly with the top drivers, and he is not outstanding in wet conditions…..and Vettel is..( when he is not ramming them that is)..but Ferrari must think he will improve and be the driver they wish for…..roll on 2020

    1. LEC is making a lot of mistakes indeed, but he is learning fast.
      If the team get there act together he has some serious chances.

    2. @jop452 Funny, because in the wet race we had this year, Leclerc was considerably quicker than Vettel, up until his accident (which even Hamilton made).

    3. No way you can consider vettel a good wet weather driver, no way.

  15. That should end the few Hamilton to Ferrari rumors I guess.

  16. Does anyone know how much he’s getting paid for the 5 year deal? It’s one of F1 annoying things that they’re so secretive about how they pay the drivers. Most sports are very public about it.

    1. @partofthepuzzle
      According to La Gazzetta Dello Sport it’s around 9 million euro a year. However there is no details about the bonus relative to the number of podium/wins and WDC.

  17. Politcal knock out punch by Todt and the rest of the LeClerc Management team. This will ensure that their driver gets the bigger slice of that sweet Ferrari driver pay out.

  18. There’s been so much criticism against him from Ferrari fans (“he complain so much”, “he thinks he’s bigger than Ferrari”, “he’s selfish”, etc.) in the latter part of the season, it’s refreshing to see the leaders at Ferrari are having none of it and want to lock him away from the competition.

    You are doing great Charles, keep going!

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