Charles Leclerc asked about potential switch to Mercedes at end of 2024

Jon Wilde
Charles Leclerc racing Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton. Silverstone July 2022

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc racing the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton. Silverstone July 2022

Charles Leclerc has understandably reacted with surprise to a suggestion that Toto Wolff is interested in luring him to Mercedes for 2025.

Links between Leclerc and Mercedes have not been reported recently, dating back the best part of three years, the Monegasque being the driver on whom Ferrari are pinning most of their hopes for the foreseeable future.

But that did not stop a reporter for L’Equipe from putting the prospect to Leclerc during an interview.

The 25-year-old racer, who gained three of his five Formula 1 wins during the 2022 campaign, was told Wolff had said that if Leclerc was free at the end of 2024 he would be delighted to welcome him to Mercedes.

Asked whether that was a move he would angle for, a surprised Leclerc replied: “2024 is a long time away and there is still a little time left at Ferrari. This team has always been my dream.

“My objective at the moment is to win with Ferrari and then we’ll see. I am very happy with Ferrari and I want to win with them.”

When did Toto Wolff express interest in signing Charles Leclerc?

We have to go back to February 2020 when Wolff was asked by Auto Motor und Sport about the possibility of taking Max Verstappen or Leclerc to Mercedes.

The Austrian’s response was: “I would be surprised if both of these young drivers have committed to their teams for five years and closed the door to everywhere else.”

Wolff also made reference at the time to George Russell – now, of course, a Mercedes driver – and Esteban Ocon, another closely connected to the Silver Arrows.

Verstappen, of course, now has a contract at Red Bull, with whom he has won back-to-back World Championships, until the end of 2028.

Is Charles Leclerc out of contract at the end of 2024?

At the beginning of the 2021 campaign, Leclerc extended his deal with Ferrari until the end of 2024.

It was reported later the same year that an extension until 2026 was set to be agreed, but confirmation of that never arrived.

Given the ultimately disappointing season the Scuderia had in 2022, after such a bright start that brought two wins in the first three races, it would make sense if Leclerc was keeping his options open from 2025 onwards.

If Mercedes are interested in Charles Leclerc, where does that leave Lewis Hamilton?

Let’s not forget that although Leclerc has recently been asked, and spoken, about Mercedes, the connection mentioned by the interviewer dates back to February 2020.

This year, of course, Lewis Hamilton has been talking about extending his time at Mercedes, currently contracted there until the end of 2023.

A new Hamilton deal is likely to be announced this winter and if it is only a one-year agreement, taking him through to the end of 2024, then the Leclerc speculation could intensify.

George Russell is, you would have thought, very secure in the Mercedes ranks after giving the team their only win this season – so the length of time for which the current line-up remains unchanged is likely to hinge purely on how long Hamilton is prepared to commit himself for.

Read more – Christian Horner: Charles Leclerc will be ‘ruing more missed opportunities’ than Sergio Perez