Charles Leclerc: A Fernando Alonso career without the titles?
Charles Leclerc has been warned he could have a Fernando Alonso style career only without winning the titles.
Alonso has developed a reputation as a driver who more often than not has made poor moves throughout his career and it appears Leclerc is staring down the barrel of a similar future.
The Ferrari man could soon be at a crossroads where he is forced to choose between staying with the Maranello outfit or rolling the dice and moving to another team.
Leclerc’s speed and reputation would mean there would be a long list of suitors but it will be a crucial choice for the Monegasque who will no doubt be increasingly frustrated at the lack of a sustained title push.
As such, Leclerc has been warned to choose carefully or have an Alonso style career only without the titles.
“He’s in great danger of having a Fernando Alonso career without the two world championships before it,” the BBC’s F1 reporter Andrew Benson said on the Chequered Flag podcast.
“[Alonso] went to Ferrari, he was so invested in winning that third championship at Ferrari and that’s why it ended up going sour for him there because they weren’t able to deliver it for him.
“He lost faith in the team and he ended up feeling he had to leave. He’s said himself that the pressure at Ferrari is greater than other teams. The situation was getting difficult and he had to get himself out of that.
“He made a mistake of getting himself out of it, you could argue, because if he just stuck with it, he probably would have won another championship in either ’17 or ’18.
“Leclerc is in a similar situation. He’s doing great things in a car that’s not up to his ability. There’s no prospects, he can see, of them getting onto a level playing field with Red Bull. I think that’s probably the root of the disappointment that you’re seeing in him at the moment.”
While a potential move to Red Bull could take place in the future, Leclerc’s most likely destination seems a switch to Mercedes who may be on the lookout for a new driver should Lewis Hamilton decide to retire or move on.
But that is a situation that could prove another headache for Leclerc as Hamilton and Mercedes may well come to a new agreement.
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“They’re paying him a lot of money to love Ferrari, but he just genuinely loves Ferrari,” Benson said.
“This is a guy, okay he was born in Monaco but he wasn’t born in Monaco as a rich kid from a rich family. He comes from a perfectly normal family who just happened to live in Monaco. His career has been made by Ferrari picking him up from a very young boy. He wants to deliver that championship with them.
“At the moment, I think he’s thinking ‘how is it ever going to happen?’
“He might not even have a choice [to move to Mercedes]. Hamilton’s contract runs out this year, Leclerc’s contract doesn’t run out till next year.
“Hamilton and [Toto] Wolff both say he’s going to do a new deal. How long is that new deal going to be? If that’s two years which I think it very well could be then he has to stay at Ferrari.”