Charles Leclerc believes he doesn’t need to leave Ferrari in order to secure his first F1 World Championship title.
The Monégasque driver’s contract with Ferrari comes to an end at the conclusion of the 2024 F1 season and, with Ferrari still seemingly no closer to properly challenging for a Formula 1 title than they were when he first raced for the Scuderia in 2019, recent rumours have linked Charles Leclerc with a team switch.
The most prevalent of these have focused on the possibility that Leclerc could be eyeing up a switch to Mercedes, with Lewis Hamilton’s immediate future unclear as the seven-time World Champion’s contract ends at the conclusion of 2023.
Leclerc’s contract also ends at the same time as Sergio Perez’s at Red Bull – could the current Ferrari man be tempted by an offer to race alongside Max Verstappen, should such an offer be on the table?
Charles Leclerc: I trust in Ferrari 100%
Speaking to German publication Bild, Leclerc was asked whether a switch to Red Bull is needed in order to become a Champion any time soon – the Milton Keynes-based team have claimed three 1-2 finishes from four races in 2023 and have clearly got the best car under the current regulations.
“I do not believe that,” Leclerc replied, before being pressed on the rumours linking him with a Mercedes switch.
“No, because I believe in the team [Ferrari] 100 percent and trust everyone from the mechanic to the team boss. But it’s not a one-way street anyway: the team has to believe in me too. But it’s still too early to talk about a new contract.”
Charles Leclerc: Ferrari have to make the step forward now
While Ferrari seemed to have nailed the start of the new regulation set in 2022, having spent the two preceding sessions regrouping, the technical directive introduced mid-season to tackle porpoising cut off Ferrari’s competitiveness – an edge they are yet to regain.
Having gone through the emotional rollercoaster of starting the year in stellar fashion to establish a large points lead, only to wind up a distance second, Leclerc was philosophical about the ‘ups and downs’ he’s experiencing as a Ferrari driver.
“Of course, I want to win,” he said.
“But the ups and downs don’t tire me. In 2020 and 2021 we found ourselves in a process where we had to fight back to Mercedes and Red Bull. There are setbacks. In 2022 and this year we didn’t take the step that we wanted. We have to do that now.”