Leclerc switch to Mercedes

Although the Silly Season of Formula 1 has not even started yet, the first wild rumours are already circulating in the paddock. One of them says that Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc is negotiating behind the scenes with Mercedes about a switch, an ‘open secret’ as it is known.

Both the Silver Arrows and the Monegasque driver denied this in Baku during the F1 Grand Prix weekend. And Ferrari team boss Fred Vasseur also made his position clear in Azerbaijan.


Paddock ‘open secret’

Leclerc has been described as Ferrari’s “unhappiest” driver, frustrated by his lacklustre pace against Verstappen, but mechanical problems and operational errors have left Leclerc in the dust this year and last year.

Charles Leclerc has long had a relationship with the Silver Arrows with possible contract talks beginning some time ago, claims the renowned Italian author and journalist Leo Turrini who writes about the topic in his column for the website

“The fact that Leclerc is talking to Mercedes is an open secret. Everyone knows that. From the garage in Maranello to the Indian Ocean,” claims Turrini, who is considered one of Italy’s leading Formula 1 insiders.

“The Monegasque knows that time passes very quickly,” writes the journalist.


“Russell is very, very strong. But if Hamilton retires, I don’t think they will bring in another Bottas in Stuttgart to drive alongside a driver who has not yet become world champion,” Turrini suggests that Mercedes could go for two ‘number one’ drivers after Hamilton’s departure.



Hamilton wants to stay at Mercedes

Subsequently, former world champion Damon Hill had also fuelled the rumours.

“I think Charles Leclerc would be a good bet,” the Briton said. The 25-year-old is a great talent “who many believe is wasted at Ferrari”.

Hill, however, based his assumption on the fact that Hamilton does not want to compete in the new season and is ending his career. However, the 38-year-old says he is not thinking of an early Formula One retirement or a move to another racing team.

“I continue to feel at home. It is family. I can imagine staying with Mercedes until the end, to be honest,” Autosport had quoted the seven-time world champion after the Melbourne race.


READ MORE: Red Bull defy FIA pit lane regulations



Denials Continue

Hardly had the rumour of Leclerc’s talks with Mercedes hit the headlines, when it began to make the rounds in the F1 world. Many members of the media asked the parties involved what and how much there was to the reports around the race weekend in Azerbaijan. The answers were clear.

“There were no talks with Mercedes,” said Leclerc himself, reaffirming what he’d said some days ago when the storm kicked up last week.


Mercedes boss Toto Wolff also denied such talks last Friday saying:

“I haven’t had a single conversation with Charles, only discussed with him at the airport whether we were going to Starbucks or not. We’ve been on the road with Lewis for ten years, and that’s not going to change.”



Verstappen mocks Russell “rookie mistake”


Fred Vasseur speaks out

Ferrari team principal Fred Vasseur was also asked about the possibility of his number one man leaving the team on Sunday after the race. The Frenchman confirmed what had already been said by previous commentators.

“The rumours about Charles and Mercedes are bullshit. Charles says he loves Ferrari and wants to win with Ferrari,” Vasseur explained.

Reports of negotiations between the driver and the Silver Arrows are the usual “gossip” he hears every weekend, the team boss added.


“But we are not worried [about Leclerc leaving],” Vasseur affirmed.

It is his immediate sporting future, however, that the Scuderia must be concerned about. As in the first three races of the season, the Reds had no chance against Red Bull in Baku. In particular, Leclerc’s strong qualifying performance was deceptive.

“We did everything, tried everything, but the truth is: we are not fast enough. We just don’t have enough power,” Leclerc passed a harsh judgement on his own abilities:

“We might have come a bit closer, but we’re still pretty far behind in terms of race pace.”

READ MORE: Russell slams FIA failure to “consult”



3 responses to “Leclerc switch to Mercedes

  1. After the performance of Ferrari and MB at Baku, all such rumours will die a quick death.
    Poor chaps Leo Turrini and Damon Hill have to fill up the pages.
    That is all there to it!

  2. Why would Mercedes even want him. George is the same age, better, and a team player unlike Leclerc

    • Definitely not “better” than Leclerc and i’m not sure what evidence exists to back up the claim that Leclerc isn’t a team player

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