Charles Leclerc’s ‘possible move’ and it’s not Mercedes nor Red Bull
Having blotted his own copybook once too often, Damon Hill believes Charles Leclerc is “stuck” at Ferrari as neither Red Bull nor Mercedes will want to change their line-ups.
Although Leclerc joined Ferrari back in 2019, he’s managed just five grands prix wins in red with two of his four full seasons, 2020 and 2021, winless campaigns. This season is, based on what’s been seen on the track in the first five races, shaping up to be a third.
While the driver has been let down by Ferrari, the team’s SF-23 woefully off the pace of the Red Bull RB19, he hasn’t done himself any favours with four crashes over the course of the last three race weekends.
Those accidents follow on his from his 2022 mistakes, the most notable of those being his crash while leading the French Grand Prix, with both the driver and Ferrari acknowledging he’s having to push too hard to get a good lap out of his Ferrari.
That has led to suggestions Leclerc, who is out of contract with Ferrari at the end of next season, is already looking at his options for 2025.
Mercedes have been touted as his most likely destination but Hill questions whether the Brackley squad, or even Red Bull, would want to take a chance on him right now.
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“I think he’s rather stuck at Ferrari for a bit,” the 1996 World Champion told the latest Sky Sports F1 podcast.
“He’s never really been in an extended campaign for the championship. There have always been moments that it’s been good and then they’ve faded, and he’s also had these blots on his copybook with qualifying, the banzai lap that goes wrong and stuff.
“When you look around at the top teams and who they have in their teams, they’re probably content with what they’ve got at the moment. I’m not sure that there’s anywhere else for him to go.
“Red Bull, I doubt it. Mercedes, I’m sure that Toto will be sticking with Lewis [Hamilton] until Lewis decides he’s not going to race anymore, and I think Charles is the perfect fit for Ferrari.
“So I think he’s there for the long term, until they give him a car that he can go for a championship with.”
The 62-year-old threw Aston Martin’s name into the mix, the team P2 in the Constructors’ Championship thanks to Fernando Alonso’s four podium finishes, but it seems Hill doesn’t believe that form will last.
“I mean Aston Martin are a coming team, possibly,” he continued.
“If it continues to be dire at Ferrari, then maybe he’ll look elsewhere, but I think he’s better off where he is.”
Leclerc, meanwhile, has made it clear he wants to continue with Ferrari beyond his current contract but the five-time grand prix winner concedes Ferrari also have a say in that.
“I believe in the team 100 percent and trust everyone from the mechanic to the team boss,” he told Bild. “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.”