New long-term Ferrari deal for Leclerc imminent, Italian media report

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In the round-up: Reports from Italy claim Ferrari will announce Charles Leclerc has signed a new, long-term deal to drive for the team.

In brief

Reports – Leclerc to sign long Ferrari extension

Leclerc is under contract with Ferrari until the end of the 2024 – the end of a five-year deal he originally signed at the end of 2019, his first season racing with the Maranello team. Now La Gazzetta della Sport say that an announcement that Leclerc will extend his current contract with Ferrari to remain until the end of the 2029 season is “imminent”.

A new deal would be a major expression of faith by Leclerc in team principal Frederic Vasseur, who replaced Mattia Binotto in charge of the team after last season.

Jaguar opens new Formula E HQ

The Jaguar Formula E team has opened its new team headquarters it says will double as its remote operations centre during races.

The new facility in Kildington in Oxfordshire includes a high-voltage lab to assemble electric powertrains for both Jaguar and its customers Envision, as well as assembly rooms for the various other systems of the cars, the team’s simulator and remote operations data centre.

“With our technical partner Fortescue WAE, this new facility provides a world-class platform for our talented team to thrive and engineer our future success in the pinnacle of electric motorsport,” said team principal James Barclay.

The 2024 Formula E season will commence in January at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City.

F4 racer Lacorte joins Alpine academy

Formula 4 racer Nicola Lacorte has become the latest member of the Alpine driver academy.

The 16-year-old raced in both the UAE and the Italian F4 championships in 2023, finishing ninth and 24th overall in both series. He secured a single win at Imola in the Italian series, with an additional podium finish at the same circuit.

“We are continuing to expand the Alpine Academy programme and bring in new talent to support through their career,” said Julian Rouse, Alpine’s interim sporting director. “We are looking forward to helping Nicola develop as a driver, both on and off the track.”

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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18 comments on “New long-term Ferrari deal for Leclerc imminent, Italian media report”

  1. Don’t do it Charles. You’d be nuts to sign a long-term deal with Ferrari when they haven’t proven themselves in donkey’s years.

    1. Surely there’s no way Ferrari could go 22 years without a title. Surely the laws of probability would allow them one great car in that timespan.

      1. Problem is they’re capable of losing even with a great car: 2022 they started with a great car, but the pit wall wasn’t up to it, nor was the in-season development.

      2. Dane, the laws of probability don’t quite work that way. If they did, Williams and McLaren would also be hot favourites for one great car by now.

      3. Newey has never lost when in a stable environment and he won’t going forward. It’s not that other teams are so bad. It’s that he’s so much better and now has the best or thereabouts driver too.

    2. With a few extremely rare exceptions, Ferrari has finished 2nd or 3rd in the championship for decades. It’s a good place to be.

      That said, this is a bit of a second-choice combo for both. All drivers (except for Hamilton, I guess) want to drive for Red Bull, and Ferrari would probably like to have Verstappen. Leclerc is a good second choice, especially because between the likes of Russell/Norris/etc. there aren’t a whole lot of super exciting alternatives in that generation.

      1. I’d say Russell is looking less and less like a “super exciting” alternative everyday. Norris is still exciting, but not exactly perfect and you can’t call him a “developing driver” anymore.

  2. By the time that contract comes to an end, Ferrari’s drivers’ championship drought will be longer than the one that Schumacher ended in 2000.

    Or Charles Leclerc will be a world champion.

    1. Indeed, and I’m not optimistic about ferrari winning again, as long as red bull and mercedes are still going strong, so pretty sure the 21 years drought between scheckter and schumacher will be beaten.

      1. If you do the maths, the average period of time a team dominates F1 is something like 3.8 seasons (if you look at the most recent 30 years)

        If you assume Hamilton deserved to win in 2021 (sorry!) and start counting Red Bull’s “dominant” period starting in 2022 – then the stats say they are highly likely to win in 2024 and 2025 as well. With the advantage they had this season, you’d assume 2024 will be very competitive, and a good chance they’re in the mix again in 2025.

        Realistically Ferrari – or anyone else for that matter – may only get a serious crack at the championship in 2026 or 2027. In that context, Leclerc extending from 2025 onwards makes alot of sense. It could be years before he gets a real chance, assuming Ferrari can build a great car of course.

        1. What periods are those? Straight up dominating two seasons in a row is quite rare. Or used to be, anyway. In that period, 2001-2002 for Ferrari, and then Mercedes from 2014-2017, and again 2019-2020, then Red Bull 2022-2023. Being competitive for longer periods is more common, but this continued dominance wasn’t really a thing during the Mosley/Ecclestone time. They knew there are only so many ‘human interest’ YouTube videos that can make up for the dire state of the competition, and weren’t afraid to mix things up.

    2. As such, I don’t think it’s a good move by leclerc, missing out on the chance to potentially jump to a better team for several years.

  3. Overall by 2026, we will have 5 quality drivers – Verstappen, Leclerc, Russell, Norris, Piastri – and 5 teams who are likely to be championship contenders – Red Bull, Ferrari, Mercedes, McLaren, Aston Martin Honda. (I am assuming that Alonso and Hamilton will call it a day by 2025)

    These 5 have to be fitted into the 5 teams. Verstappen, Norris are already locked in until 2028. Leclerc’s only options are Ferrari, Aston Martin Honda and Mercedes. Aston Martin Honda has shown poor in season development this year. Mercedes may not want to publicly lock Leclerc as while he might be marginally better than Russell, a public show of no confidence in Russell won’t do anyone good.

    So Ferrari remains his only choice. Also, reports states that he has exit clause from 2027 onwards, i.e. One year after new regulations kick in. So if Ferrari do fail in those, he can leave by 2027.

    1. I am assuming that Alonso and Hamilton will call it a day by 2025

      If they get bored with it, yeah, but as far as performance goes, they are still better then absolute top of the field.
      They’ve finished this season in 3rd and 4th, which means only two Red Bull drivers beat them.
      To be honest, it’s really a slap in the face of all the other, younger, future-champions driver, that these two 40-year olds are better than all of them.

      If we want the best drivers in F1, I honestly think they could be racing for 10 more years, and still be in the upper half of the field in terms of performance. They are probably among the top 10 drivers ever to race in F1.

      1. To be honest, it’s really a slap in the face of all the other, younger, future-champions driver, that these two 40-year olds are better than all of them.

        Yes, I think this deserves more attention. Leclerc has some flashes of brilliance, but on the whole the group of folks like himself, Norris, Sainz, Russell, etc. is quite reminiscent of the rather mediocre field around the turn of the century.

        1. I think norris might actually be better than leclerc and the rest of them, he just needs to cut the mistakes when everything is on the line (pole\win). The other person made a good point, hamilton and alonso are indeed in the top 10 of all time, so it makes sense they’re still competitive at this age.

        2. Agreed. If Leclerc was GOAT he wouldn’t still be paling in comparison to one guy closing in on 50 and another who is basically 40. And Russell is looking way less impressive than Leclerc.

  4. Robert Henning
    5th December 2023, 7:22

    Wanted to see him drive for RB but alas.

    Thats the battle I’m missing. Verstappen vs Leclerc in “equal machinery”.

    RB really don’t have a good driver for that 2nd seat except Norris as it stands.

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