Charles Leclerc warned he’ll ‘either be the new Jean Alesi or the new Kimi Raikkonen’

Michelle Foster
Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc with his hands to his visor. Ferrari Canada June 2023

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc with his hands to his visor.

Said to have signed a multi-year extension with Ferrari, Leo Turrini says if reports of Charles Leclerc’s new deal are true, he’s making a “life choice”.

And it will either see him emerge as a Kimi Raikkonen with a World title to his name, or a Jean Alesi, much-loved by the Tifosi but never a World Champion.

Joining Ferrari in 2019, much was said of Leclerc’s championship credentials but as everyone in Formula 1 knows, the driver needs a winning car to fight for World titles.

‘Charles Leclerc will either be the new Alesi or the new Raikkonen’

That looked to be on the cards early in 2022 only for Ferrari’s season to implode with Leclerc not doing himself any favours as he made mistakes of his own, most notably crashing out of the lead of the French Grand Prix.

This season Ferrari are well off the pace of the rampant Red Bulls with Leclerc managing just three podiums to sit P5 in the Drivers’ Championship.

But despite the team’s struggles, the Monégasque driver has reportedly put pen to paper on a two-year extension that will keep him at Maranello until the end of 2026.

Italian journalist Turrini says this could be a “life choice” for the driver who’ll be 29 at the end of 2026.

“If Leclerc renews with Ferrari, he makes a life choice,” Turrini declared on his blog. “At the end of which it will either be the new Alesi or the new Raikkonen (ie a World Champion with the Reds).”

Turrini reckons if given the car to fight, Leclerc could find himself joining Raikkonen on the list of drivers to have won a title with Ferrari.

“He’s good and I don’t think there are available drivers stronger than him,” he said.

“But at the moment, who drives is the least of the Red’s problems. As president, I would build a dream team, from Schumi to Todt, from Brawn to Byrne…”

Back in Ferrari’s heydays, the ‘dream team’ of Michael Schumacher, Jean Todt, Ross Brawn, and Rory Byrne won five World titles from 2000 to 2004. recommends

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Turrini, though, doesn’t see a reason why a dream team couldn’t also include current driver Carlos Sainz.

Although the Spaniard has been linked with Audi several times in recent months, his entourage insists his Plan A, B and C are all Ferrari.

“Carlos is legitimately ambitious,” said the 63-year-old. “He does not consider himself inferior to Leclerc. I would keep him. Certainly, there is no shortage of offers, even if not from top teams. At least so far.”

But if given the choice between one of the Ferrari drivers and Lewis Hamilton, “of course I would take Hamilton if he was available. Instead of Sainz.”

Sainz and Leclerc both have confirmed contracts through to the end of next season.

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