Ferrari shun Carlos Sainz contract demands

Ferrari’s latest ‘golden boy’ Charles Leclerc is to get a shiny new contract worth in total around $200m with options to remain in Maranello until 2029. Both he and Carlos Sainz have current deals with the Scuderia which expire at the end of 2024.

The Italian team have clearly responded to fact their preferred driver has been talking to other teams about his future and signed the Monegasque up quickly before he is made an offer from the competition.



Leclerc talks to other F1 teams

Leclerc is reported by Sportune to have spoken to Mercedes, Aston Martin and Red Bull before agreeing new terms with Ferrari who were genuinely concerned their star driver may leave to replace Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes.

Charles joined the Ferrari academy in 2016 and was the development driver for customer team Haas F1 while he promptly went out and won the GP3 series in his first season.

The following year he was promoted to test driver at Sauber and again won the title in the junior Formula GP2.

After his rookie F1 season with the Swiss team in 2018 he was recruited by Ferrari to replace their world champion driver Kimi Raikkonen and become team mate of Sebastian Vettel.

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Leclerc’s talent was immediately plain to see as he outscored his quadruple world champion team mate in his first year driving for the Scuderia. In year two with Ferrari Charles again beat his team mate easily in the championship and history may record this as the reason Vettel’s dream of following his boyhood hero Michael Schumacher to glory with the iconic red F1 team was dashed.

Sebastian was sacked with a year remaining on his contract.

Ferrari are known for having a driver they believe is their best shot at winning titles ‘locked in’ and so Leclerc was presented with a five year deal which would see him through to the end of the 2024 season.

Vettel was replaced by Carlos Sainz who jumped at the chance to exit McLaren who were restructuring and had a car that was difficult to drive. 

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Sainz given just a two year deal

The Spaniard was offered a two year deal which was later extended until the end of 2024. However, usually Ferrari conspired to put themselves in the position where both their drivers were out of contract simultaneously the result is now proving awkward for new team boss Fred Vasseur.

Vasseur was Sauber’s team principal when Ferrari placed the young Leclerc with them as a test driver and for his rookie season in F1. When the Frenchman got the call to replace Mattia Binotto at Ferrari, immediately reports circulated he would favour his once protege Charles Leclerc.

The politics of Formula One driver contracts are complex and the fact that Sportune has ‘leaked’ the details of Leclerc’s new Ferrari deal suggests Ferrari are concerned he may be stolen from under their nose.

Big driver announcements by the Scuderia have been traditionally made at their home Grand Prix at the Cathedral of Speed in Monza. Yet this is a whole four weeks away and Mercedes have still failed to announce they are retaining Lewis Hamilton.

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HUGE new contract for Leclerc

The ‘leaked’ details of Leclerc’s deal is obviously designed to head off other suitors due to both the enormity of the amount Ferrari are prepared to pay the Monegasque and the length of commitment they are prepared to give.

Leclerc has trailed Sainz in the drivers’ championship for most of this season but a first corner incident between the Spaniard and McLaren’s Oscar Piastri last time out in Spa saw Charles move ahead of his team mate.

Its no coincidence that the leaked new deal for Charles has been released soon after as it gives the Scuderia a crumb of a reason as to why they’ve addressed Leclerc’s future ahead of their other driver.

The headache for Ferrari will be to explain why they have sealed the future of one of their drivers whilst despite their current contracts ending simultaneously there is no mention of a resolution to Carlos recent demands.

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Sainz issues Ferrari ultimatum

When asked about his longer term relationship with the Scuderia in May, Sainz revealed his approach to the assembled media.

“Obviously I don’t want to reveal what my strategies are in terms of contractual negotiations because it’s something that I never disclose.”

The Spaniard then promptly issued a demand from his current employer barbed with a not so veiled threat.

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Fewer options for the Spaniard

“I’m not going to lie, I don’t like going into my last year of a contract without really knowing where I’m racing the next year,” he added. 

“I went through that process both with Red Bull and Renault, and I know it’s not ideal as an athlete, and as a driver. It’s just not the right thing. And that’s why I have put this winter as a reference to try and figure out my future.”

Carlos’ future options may be limited given he has already been part of the Red Bull stable and chose to leave. He then committed to Renault before bailing on them to take up McLaren’s offer.

Then when the call came from Maranello he abandoned the McLaren rebuilding project where he was partnering with Lando Norris. So its natural Sainz would restate his preferred allegiance to the Ferrari F1 team. 

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Ferrari snub Carlos Sainz

“My priority, and my main goal, is to win one day with Ferrari. And I think I’ve made that clear, very, very often. And that’s why I will give my priority to them this winter.  

“If not, it will also be time to look elsewhere. But that’s my priority and what I want to sort out in the winter.”

Ferrari signing a huge new deal with Leclerc and failing to address Sainz deadline is a clear snub to their ‘No.2 driver.’

Ideally Vasseur would like to offer Sainz a one year extension to prevent him from looking elsewhere this winter, yet this now would look like a mere sop given Ferrari’s massive commitment to retaining Leclerc.

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Audi move runners persist

Ralph Schumacher recently commented on German TV, “I hear rumours that his father is in the paddock looking for an alternative. 

“Carlos Sainz senior is close to the Volkswagen Group through his rallying and Audi needs a driver with experience when it comes to Formula 1 in 2026.”

This may prove to be good news for Daniel Ricciardo who is presently on trial with AlphaTauri. The Red Bull junior team have given the Aussie to the end of the season to analyse whether he can regain the form he once demonstrated after two woeful years  aproning Lando Norris at McLaren.

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Lifeline for Daniel Ricciardo

Yet at present Christian Horner insists even if Ricciardo blows his team mate Yuki Tsunoda away, Red Bull will retain Perez for the final year of his deal which if true means Daniel has no hope of racing for Red Bull until at least 2025.

Ferrari have a habit of recruiting ageing stop gap F1 drivers as they did when Kimi Raikkonen returned to partner Alonso.

Ferrari will surely now just tough it out with media speculation building over Carlos exit from Maranello. They’ve played their big hand – and are ‘all in’ with Leclerc.

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