Charles Leclerc would ‘love to stay’ at Ferrari as contract talks remain on hold

Michelle Foster
Charles Leclerc smiling in the Ferrari garage as he prepares for the Italian Grand Prix weekend.

Charles Leclerc smiling in the Ferrari garage.

Having previously denied he’s signed a bumper two-year extension with Ferrari, Charles Leclerc has reassured the Tifosi he wants to continue with the team as “firstly” he wants a World title with Ferrari.

Although there was a rumour last month that Leclerc had put pen to paper on a new £160m deal that would keep him at Maranello through to the end of 2026, the Monégasque denied this as he said there are “no new deals and no discussions whatsoever”.

Instead, he revealed, he and Ferrari would wait until after the season to discuss extending his stay beyond 2024.

Charles Leclerc: My goal is to be a champion, but firstly with Ferrari

But with Ferrari once again failing to fire at the Dutch Grand Prix, and his teammate Carlos Sainz lamenting they’d fallen to sixth in the pecking order, it has been speculated that Leclerc could be looking at his options.

Mercedes and Aston Martin had been touted as possible destinations by Le Mans winner Richard Bradley, although those doors have subsequently been shut with Mercedes re-signing Lewis Hamilton while Aston Martin team boss Mike Krack says they’ll continue with Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll for a second season.

That won’t come as a disappointment for Leclerc with the driver adamant he wants to continue with Ferrari anyway.

“I have always loved Ferrari and I would love to stay,” he told BBC Sport. “I’ve always made it very clear that my goal is to try to be a World Champion, but firstly with Ferrari.

“I know how difficult it is. We are not in the easiest situation. There is a big gap to fill to get to Red Bull’s level but Ferrari has helped me before I got into F1, believed in me, and put me into the Ferrari seat very early on, and it’s always a team that I’ve loved.

“My priority is to win with Ferrari and it is not my worry whether I won’t achieve it or whatever. We just need to work on the team and try to improve it as much as possible, and I hope that I can achieve that one day.” recommends

F1 2024 driver line-up: Who is confirmed for next season’s grid?

Five great F1 career moves: Hamilton to Mercedes, Schumacher to Ferrari and more

Downplays fears of a long-term Ferrari career without a World title

It has been suggested, not for the first time, that if Leclerc commits to Ferrari he’ll go down in history in one of two ways – a Tifosi favourite or a World Champion.

Weighing in on Leclerc’s future, respected Italian journalist Leo Turrini said: “If Leclerc renews with Ferrari, he makes a life choice. At the end of which it will either be the new Alesi or the new Raikkonen (i.e. a World Champion with the Reds).”

The five-time grand prix winner has no worries about that, saying: “Absolutely not. Because at the end, being a Ferrari driver is a dream for everybody.”

And in the midst of a season in which no team except Red Bull has won a race, Leclerc says he still believes it’s possible.

“As strange as it can sound, whenever I put my helmet on, I still feel like the victory is possible,” he says.

“Whenever I am home training or when I am in the car, winning is what motivates me and it never feels unachievable. Then of course realistically before the weekend, you know that, if nothing happens to them, they are just going to be in a league of their own come Sunday.

“But whenever I close the visor, I still believe in it. I still think this is something I can do. A win is still possible and I will always give absolutely everything for the win. So there is no lack of motivation whatsoever.”

Read next: Red Bull spring a surprise with Monza rear wing configuration