Charles Leclerc says Ferrari contract talks are on hold until the end of F1 2023, a decision which he and the team have backed.
Leclerc’s Ferrari future has been a hot topic of debate in recent months with his current deal set to expire at the end of F1 2024.
Speculation had flared up further over the summer break with the claim that Leclerc had signed a bumper new long-term Ferrari contract, which ultimately proved to be wide of the mark, sadly for Leclerc, who quite liked the sound of that reported €185 million [£160m] total salary!
Additional reporting by Sam Cooper
Charles Leclerc says Ferrari contract talks not priority
On a serious note though, Leclerc is currently giving little thought to his Ferrari contract situation, but instead is focused on the team’s recovery, with their targeted F1 2023 title challenge having descended into comfortably trailing runaway Championship leaders Red Bull.
“I mean, I wish I did this deal because it looked like a good deal!” Leclerc joked with media including PlanetF1.com in response to that inaccurate Ferrari contract report. “But no, there are no new deals and no discussions whatsoever.
“But at one point, we’ll definitely have those discussions. I think my intentions are clear. And then on the team side, I don’t know, but I’m not too worried either. It’s not the priority for now.
“For now, we just want to try and work as much as possible on the car to get back to where we were last year, which was to fight for wins and then we’ll see.
“But at the end of the season for sure we’ll have those discussions.”
Leclerc would then double down on his stance that the saga does not concern him, the Monegasque driver saying it is a mutual between him and Ferrari that contract talks do not crop up at this stage.
“No, honestly I’m not surprised and I am not concerned,” he affirmed.
“If I was worried I probably would have started the discussions earlier, but I’m not too worried. It will be all fine.
“We haven’t started the discussions but I’m happy to do it at the end of the year.
“Basically we don’t speak to each other about this. Neither I do and neither they do. So basically, it’s both of us have decided that way and I think it’s the right way. As I said, there’s no rush.”
Charles Leclerc backs Fred Vasseur’s Ferrari vision
Vasseur made the switch from Alfa Romeo to Ferrari to replace Mattia Binotto as team principal, the task facing the Frenchman a huge one as Ferrari took to return to title-winning ways for the first time since 2008.
While Vasseur is remaining tight-lipped, he has said that Ferrari are closing in on a key new signing, Mercedes’ performance director Loïc Serra a name commonly cropping up, and Leclerc fully supports Vasseur’s attempts to bolster the Ferrari ranks and his overall vision for the team.
“I’m fully convinced,” Leclerc declared when asked if he supports Vasseur’s vision and how long it will need to deliver results. “Then to tell you it’s in two months or a year or three years, it’s very difficult.
“I hope not three years, but I am fully convinced that it’s the right approach to do, we’ve got new engineers coming to the team. I mean, we always have, but it’s a constant plan for the next few years to reinforce the team and I think this is the right way to go.
“So I am fully committed with the vision that Fred has for the team and we are definitely working in the right direction. And then how much [time] it will take, I don’t know.”
Ferrari sit P4 in the current Constructors’ Championship standings, 56 points behind Mercedes in P2, while Leclerc holds P5 in the Drivers’ Championship.