Charles Leclerc makes clear statement on Ferrari future after delayed talks

Michelle Foster
Ferrari's Charles Leclerc at the Singapore Grand Prix.

Ferrari's Charles Leclerc not happy after Abu Dhabi burnout request rejected.

Charles Leclerc has all but committed his Formula 1 future to Ferrari with the driver adamant he wouldn’t “change my place with anyone”  – even to win a World title with a different team.

A long-time Ferrari junior before entering Formula 1 with their backing at Sauber, Leclerc has spent the past five seasons racing for Ferrari.

It, though, has not yielded the success either the driver or the team wanted.

Charles Leclerc: I want to finish the mission with a World Championship

Arriving on this year’s grid on the back of his runner-up result last season, the Monégasque driver hasn’t been able to add to his victory tally which is stuck on five.

But while some pundits have urged him to spread his wings with the driver rapidly approaching the end of his Ferrari F1 deal, Mercedes and Alpine touted as possible suggestions, he’s set to enter new contract negotiations with the Scuderia in the winter.

But it seems that’s already decided, at least from his point of view.

Leclerc has made it clear he wants to continue with Ferrari and become their next World Champion after Kimi Raikkonen in 2007, even if switching teams would be the easier way to win a championship.

“I don’t really think to that because Ferrari is so special and I wouldn’t change my position with anyone else on the grid,” he told ESPN.

“Do I want to win World Championships? Of course, this is the same for everybody, but do I want to change my place with anyone? No, I don’t.

“I have always been dreaming of being a Formula One driver, and even more so with Ferrari.

“It’s a bit of a family feeling now, it’s been so many years I have been within the team, whether it is as an actual race driver for Ferrari or at the Ferrari Driver Academy in the years before.

“It’s been many years together and I want to finish the mission with a World Championship.”

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‘Ferrari have taken ‘big steps forward in terms of understanding’ the car

Although Leclerc is potentially on course for a winless season with only two races remaining to break his duck, the 26-year-old firmly believes Ferrari have taken steps forward this campaign.

Ferrari dropped the in-wash baby bath look in favour of a more Red Bull styled downwash concept at the Spanish GP, but it was their late-season upgrades that Leclerc feels showed progress.

The biggest of those was delivered at the Japanese Grand Prix where the team ran a new floor with revised inlet vanes, edges, underfloor and diffuser. All the parts were introduced to give greater efficiency.

“There’s been quite a bit of progress, especially in the second half of the season,” Leclerc said.

“When we started after the summer break we really did big steps forward in terms of understanding our car, and that is a good positive step in terms of the future and for future development.

“This is positive, but on the other hand it is true that it has been a disappointing season. We ended up last year being second in the championship for both titles and this year we had a target to be winning the championship.

“At the moment that is definitely not what we are fighting for, and obviously Max just won as well as Red Bull.

“I think we’ve seen two teams this year, Aston Martin at the start of the year and McLaren more recently, have made big steps forward.

“This is what gives us the confidence that these big steps can be done, but we need to understand exactly where the problems are coming from.

“We think we understand that but until we put the car down and see huge improvements, it’s difficult to predict.

“It’s also all relative in this sport and you are fighting against other cars and it depends on what the others will find. If Red Bull has found something again that will put them again better next year.

“I am personally very confident about the direction we have been taking in terms of development and I’m sure it will pay from next year onwards.”

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