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Formula One

Charles Leclerc has extended his contract with Ferrari

But for how long? Monegasque driver will wear Ferrari red “for several more seasons to come”

Published: 25 Jan 2024

Ferrari has locked down five-time race winner Charles Leclerc with a contract extension that takes him beyond the 2024 F1 season. Anyone else feel… kinda sorry for him?

Leclerc made his debut with the team in 2019, but his time with the Italian outfit has been plagued by poor reliability and comically bad strategy errors that have cost him countless victories and podiums.

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His old five-year deal was set to run out at the end of 2024, but it’s not clear how long this extension will tie him down for. Perhaps there’s a sneaky exit clause in case Lewis Hamilton retires and Mercedes comes calling?

The closest Leclerc has come to a title challenge so far was in 2022, when Ferrari began the new era of ground-effect aero with a car that was - initially, at least - a match for Red Bull and Max Verstappen.

But errors, breakdowns, slow development and a number of driver errors meant his campaign unravelled quicker than an FIA ethics investigation and last year’s car could only muster one race win… and that went to teammate Carlos Sainz.

Even so, Leclerc has long been established as one of the quickest drivers in F1, and has racked up 23 pole positions to date despite rarely having the fastest car over a race distance.

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But in six seasons in the sport - and five of those with Ferrari - his entire career has yielded as many victories as Verstappen managed in the final 35 days of last season. Ouch.

“I’m very pleased to know that I will be wearing the Scuderia Ferrari race suit for several more seasons to come,” said Leclerc. “To race for this team has been my dream since I was three years old: I used to watch the Monaco Grand Prix from the window of a friend’s apartment at Sainte Devote corner and I would always look out for the red cars.

“This team is my second family ever since I joined the Ferrari Driver Academy in 2016 and we have achieved a lot together, fighting through thick and thin over the past five years. However, I believe the best is yet to come and I can’t wait for this season to start, to make further progress and be competitive at every race. My dream remains that of winning the World Championship with Ferrari and I’m sure that in the years ahead, we will enjoy great times together and make our fans happy.”

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And team principal Fred Vasseur added: “Charles’ bond to the Scuderia goes beyond that of just a driver and a team, as he has been part of the Ferrari family for eight years now, dating back to a time before he first sported the Prancing Horse emblem on his race suit. His values and those of our team are intertwined and so it was natural for us to be in agreement on extending our collaboration.

“We know him for his incessant desire to push himself to the limit and we appreciate his extraordinary abilities when it comes to fighting and overtaking in a race. We are determined to give Charles a winning car and I know that his determination and commitment are elements that can make the difference in helping us reach our goals.”

Will 2024 be the year that Leclerc finally has the car to make full use of his talents?

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