Amid rumours that Carlos Sainz has signed a preliminary contract with Formula One newcomers Audi, Charles Leclerc has spoken out about his Ferrari teammate’s future.
The coming months will reveal the truth about the future of Ferrari, as both Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz are officially under contract until the end of 2024. This means that negotiations with the driver duo will be necessary.
New deal: Leclerc huge salary at Ferrari
Charles Leclerc is on the verge of a monumental contract, the young prodigy is poised to sign a staggering deal estimated to be worth around $200 million, a move backed by clauses that could see him remain with the Maranello-based Ferrari team until 2029. The resounding move comes in direct response to Leclerc’s recent flirtations with rival teams, a gesture that sent shockwaves abound and prompted Ferrari to act swiftly to preserve their prized asset.
The new deal effectively overrides Leclerc’s existing contract, which was originally due to run until 2024.
Whispers of Leclerc’s secret talks with Mercedes, Aston Martin and Red Bull echoed through the paddock, creating a sense of urgency within the Ferrari enclave. The prospect of Leclerc possibly slipping away to Mercedes to succeed Lewis Hamilton spurred Ferrari into decisive action.
However, this strategic gambit has inadvertently placed Ferrari in a delicate position. The synchronised expiration of both Leclerc’s and his team-mate Carlos Sainz’s contracts has created a unique challenge for newly-appointed team principal Fred Vasseur. Known for his stewardship at Sauber, Vasseur has had a formative influence on Leclerc’s early career. His perceived affinity for the young Monegasque driver adds another layer of complexity to the unfolding story. Moves that will naturally push Sainz away from the team.
Sainz moves toward Audi F1
While Sainz recently emphasised how important it is for him to start next season knowing where he will be driving from 2025, speculation has also been rife about a possible pre-contract with Audi.
The German manufacturer is gradually joining the current Alfa Romeo team and will officially take over the former Sauber team’s name from 2026. With Sainz at the wheel? The jury is still out. It is quite possible that Sainz will use the whole thing as a bargaining chip in the poker game for a new contract with Ferrari.
With Leclerc having already signed a new contract extension with the Italian team, with talk of the aforementioned record deal, if the Monegasque has his way, Sainz should also stay on. Leclerc has described him as the perfect team-mate because he is ambitious and competitive.
Leclerc responds to Sainz rumours
It would be “wrong” for Sainz to change teams in the future, Marca quotes Leclerc as saying: “I can work well with Carlos, even if there is a lot of competition between us”.
The Spanish newspaper also reports that the two Formula One drivers also get on well off the track, which is why Leclerc is keen to see the pairing continue beyond 2024.
As early as next year, Leclerc wants to be back on the attack in both the Drivers’ and the Teams’ World Championships. In the current season, the Scuderia is chasing its own tail and currently lies fourth in the Constructors’ Championship behind Aston Martin, Mercedes and leaders Red Bull.
“We can’t be satisfied with second or third. We have to win and we have to get there,” stressed Leclerc, who is currently two places ahead of Sainz in P5 in the Drivers’ Championship.