Charles Leclerc has signed a new five season contract to stay at Ferrari until the end of the 2024 Formula One season.
This announcement caps an excellent debut campaign in the Prancing Horse which saw Leclerc outscore teammate – Sebastian Vettel and become the first rookie to clinch the Pole Position Trophy with seven pole positions.
Speaking of his decision to stay at Maranello for five more seasons, Leclerc said; “I am very happy to be staying on with Scuderia Ferrari.
This past season, driving for the most illustrious team in Formula 1 has been a dream year for me.”
Leclerc is also keen to build on the progress of this season, saying; “I cannot wait to enjoy an even deeper relationship with the team after what has been an intense and exciting 2019.
I’m keen to see what the future holds and I can’t wait to get going again next season.”
Team Principal, Mattia Binotto described the decision to offer Leclerc a new contract as “self evident” and demonstrates their “firm future together” as a team.
‘Tough Decisions Ahead’
With rumours of discussion between Ferrari and Lewis Hamilton in regards to 2021, this announcement comes as no surprise but there will be tough decisions ahead at Maranello.
Ferrari have long had an established number one and two driver routine which suggests that we could very well see a change of future approach, with both drivers allowed to go for the title with very little team orders rather than one driver supporting the title bid of their teammate.
That approach could very well be the case if Hamilton joins because he will expect to go for the title, although Leclerc will be keen to establish himself as the top driver at Ferrari which would create an intriguing battle.Embed from Getty Images
Sebastian Vettel meanwhile looks set to be off at the end of next season if his performance continues to falter, which in turn could create an opening for one of Ferrari’s juniors to step up and straight into a race seat if Antonio Giovinazzi continues to disappoint at Alfa Romeo.
Callum Ilott, Mick Schumacher and Giuliano Alesi are all staying in Formula Two next season, alongside Robert Schwartzman and Marcus Armstrong who are stepping up from Formula Three.
A similar dominant performance to that of Leclerc in 2017 which saw the Monegasque dominate the F2 field and graduate as Champion into F1 with Sauber last season, could very well see one of those five juniors elevated into a potential F1 title challenger for 2021.
Ferrari therefore has a huge decade ahead with Leclerc set to be one of F1’s leading men, whilst their academy could throw up challenges in terms of who to promote into F1 and potentially turn into a world champion.