Fred Vasseur is “not scared” about losing Charles Leclerc to Mercedes, the Ferrari team boss adamant there’s still plenty of time in which to negotiate an extended contract.
Failing to take the fight to Red Bull this season, it has been speculated that Leclerc is looking at his options for 2025 after his Ferrari deal expires – namely Mercedes.
The Monégasque driver is reportedly the favourite to replace Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes, with reports claiming he’s already begun speaking with Toto Wolff about a 2025 contract.
“That Leclerc is talking to Mercedes is the open secret,” says Italian journalist Leo Turrini. “Everyone knows it, from the remote garage in Maranello to the Indian Ocean.”
Vasseur, however, isn’t at all fazed by the rumours.
The Ferrari team boss believes there’s no rush to re-sign Leclerc, adamant he’s not worried Leclerc will sign for Mercedes before he has the opportunity to speak with him.
“No, I told you [before] that we will do it in the course of the season,” he insisted. “He’s under contract with us for more than one year [from] now, and we have time to discuss it.
“And I’m not scared at all, and I think it’s not the right moment to do it.”
As for his driver’s frustrations with Ferrari’s current form, Vasseur insists that’s a good thing.
“I like it,” he said as per The Race. “Honestly, we had the discussion and for me the frustration is positive.
“He’s clearly part of the project, you know? He’s not a spectator of this.
“He’s involved in the development of the team, he’s part of the development because he’s developing himself. He’s a performance contributor, on track and out of the track. And as long as he will play this role, we are on a good path.
“It’s true in every single team that you are always building a team around the driver. If you have a look over the last 20 years, or even more, all the successful stories in F1, [they] took time but it was always a team built up around someone, a driver.
“It’s true with Lewis [Hamilton] with Mercedes, but it was true before with Michael [Schumacher] at Ferrari, it was true with [Fernando] Alonso at Renault, it was true everywhere – and Red Bull. You can find tonnes of examples.
“For sure Charles is an important pillar of the performance and he has to play the role, in the car, outside of the car, to be a performance contributor. And he is fully supportive of this part of the job and I’m fully convinced that it’s also a personal commitment from him.”