Lewis Hamilton, Charles Leclerc, Monaco, 2023

Leclerc praises Ferrari’s “transparent” handling of Hamilton negotiations

Formula 1

Posted on

| Written by and

Charles Leclerc says Ferrari were “transparent” with him about their efforts to sign Lewis Hamilton before he committed to extending his contract with the team.

Hamilton will join Ferrari at the beginning of next season. Leclerc, whose contract was up for renewal at the end of this year, agreed a deal to remain at the team shortly before Hamilton’s moved was announced.

However Leclerc confirmed the identity of his next team mate came as no surprise to him. “Obviously these kind of deals are not finalised overnight, it takes of course, time,” he said in response to a question from RaceFans.

“I was aware of those discussions before signing my deal. So it didn’t come out as a surprise after signing.”

Leclerc said he had no concerns about going up against the seven-times world champion in the same team from next year.

“It hasn’t changed anything in my discussions because I focussed on myself and what’s good for me,” he said. “So there was no change of any requirements or whatsoever. For me, that wasn’t part of my discussions.

“I think it was good that the team was transparent anyway, just for me to not learn it after that, but it didn’t change anything for me.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

The pair have had a friendly relationship to date, Hamilton praising Leclerc’s driving on several occasions. The pair swapped messages after Hamilton’s shock move became public.

“I’ve had discussions with Lewis, especially when everything was announced and official, we texted each other, of course,” said Leclerc. “Lewis is a great champion with a lot of experience and so much success.

“It is always interesting to have a new team mate as you learn different ways of working, of driving, and even more so when my new team mate is a seven-time world champion.”

However Leclerc stressed he wants to maintain the constructive relationship he has enjoyed with Carlos Sainz Jnr which will come to an end this year after four seasons together.

“I don’t want to comment that much, mostly out of respect for Carlos,” he said. “We’ve had great years together and we have one more year together to do and we will do absolutely everything to finish on the highest note possible.

“Obviously Lewis is an incredible driver, the most successful in history and with a lot of experience as well, which he will bring to to the team and obviously myself, which is a good thing. But again, with Carlos it’s been great and we’ve got one more year together to try and do the best job possible.”

Bringing the F1 news from the source

RaceFans strives to bring its readers news directly from the key players in Formula 1. We are able to do this thanks in part to the generous backing of our RaceFans Supporters.

By contributing £1 per month or £12 per year (or the equivalent in other currencies) you can help cover the costs involved in producing original journalism: Travelling, writing, creating, hosting, contacting and developing.

We have been proudly supported by our readers for over 10 years. If you enjoy our independent coverage, please consider becoming a RaceFans Supporter today. As a bonus, all our Supporters can also browse the site ad-free. Sign up or find out more via the links below:

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

Formula 1

Browse all Formula 1 articles

Author information

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...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

13 comments on “Leclerc praises Ferrari’s “transparent” handling of Hamilton negotiations”

  1. Coventry Climax
    14th February 2024, 9:26

    Transparent towards Leclerc, but with a degree of secrecy towards Sainz, who has said it came as a bit of a surprise.
    Isn’t a mix of light and dark generally described as twilight, or somewhat ‘obscure’?

    1. What would be the point? It would only increase the risk of news of the negotiations leaking somehow. The early deal means that all parties, including Sainz and Mercedes, have ample time to seek a new team / new driver.

      1. Coventry Climax
        15th February 2024, 2:43

        I didn’t mention there’d be a point, but what’s the point of transparency generally?

    2. Well, it makes sense that they would be more open with they guy they were just signing on to partner Hamilton for anther half a decade and somewhat less open towards the guy who was being shown the door, right. That said, Sainz also did say that the team told him up front too.

      1. Coventry Climax
        15th February 2024, 2:49

        I didn’t say anything about sense. Or logic, for that matter.
        It’s quite obvious why things went the way they did.
        Doesn’t change the fact though that they were more open to one driver and less so towards the other.

    3. I think Charles is being disingenuous. He said after the Hamilton signing he was both surprised and unhappy. Why wouldn’t he be?

      I’m sure he knows they didn’t bring Hamilton into the fold to be his rear gunner. After all, they are paying him 100 million which is four times what Charles is making. He is no longer Ferrari’s future, unless he beats Hamilton that is, which is not likely.

      And Ferrari didn’t do LEC any favors. They could have delayed signing him until after Hamilton signed, which would have given Charles an excellent shot at the open Mercedes seat.

      Now they have a disgruntled alpha who is going to be answering questions about Hamilton for a long time. it may not cause him to lose focus on his driving, but it could.

      More sound strategy from Ferrari. Smh

      1. re “He said after the Hamilton signing he was both surprised and unhappy”.

        Do you have a quote for that or are you believing anonymous sources?

          1. That source contradicts the ones that said he was happy about the move, including the official Formula 1 website, which happened at the same time. I don’t know which one is correct, but I do know they can’t all be right.

          2. Haven’t seen that on any website I consider reliable. Don’t know about this source. It wasn’t anywhere on Autosport, The-Race, Sky, etc. or any Italian source which has reliable inside info like the Gazzetta. Again, I’m unfamiliar with the source you provided, but I’d take it with a pinch of salt. Especially given the special relationship between Fred and Leclerc, it doesn’t seem logical that Leclerc would be kept in the cold about it.

  2. Hmmm. If he thinks Sainz was a bit hard when it came to team orders he’s in for a huge shock with Hamilton.
    All drivers are complimentary about their future team mates until they hit the track as team mates.

    1. I think he will probably see what Sainz is like when he is no longer bound to loyalty towards the team hoping to impress them. And yeah, i really don’t see Hamilton giving in easily, we saw with Russel (and off course with Rosberg and to an extent with Button, not to mention where it went with Alonso. Heck even leaving Bottas a consolation win was not something he really dug) that Hamilton is not one to play a support role.

      1. @bascb Ferrari will have two lead drivers in 2025 and they undoubtedly knew that before signing Hamilton and keeping Leclerc. I can remember quite a few times when Leclerc has kept Hamilton behind fairly ruthlessly and don’t expect any different when they race together. I expect them to be fairly evenly matched in speed and racing ruthlessness but, probably, both more or less staying within limits.
        I don’t think Sainz was ever supposed to match Leclerc in terms of speed, but he actually proved more than capable lots of times and he’s excellent in wet weather (not Leclerc’s strongest area). I think he’d be excellent at Mercedes or Red Bull.

Comments are closed.