Ferrari team principal Fred Vasseur admits they are behind schedule on agreeing new contracts with Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz, but targets sealing both deals before the F1 2024 season begins.
As Ferrari prepare for the new season to come, one which they hope will see them return to the title conversation, there is major business to attend to on the driver front with both Leclerc and Sainz out of contract come the end of 2024.
Neither driver has given any indication that they see their future away from Ferrari, Vasseur confirming that new deals are on the horizon for both, despite the team falling behind schedule on when they wanted to get these contracts signed and sealed.
Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz to receive new Ferrari deals
And Vasseur said it is his aim to make sure both Leclerc and Sainz have shiny new contracts before the F1 2024 action gets underway, the drivers set to return to Maranello from their winter break on January 9-10.
“They were exhausted, but we all are,” Vasseur said, quoted by Formu1a.uno. “After Abu Dhabi there was testing, then an event in Saudi Arabia and then back here to work on the simulator. Now it’s good to have 2-3 weeks off.
“The aim is to renew them before next season, yes.
“The last part of the year was a bit of a chaos and we have only recently started the renewal discussions. We are behind Mercedes, which announced the renewals of both its drivers in August, but this is not a problem.”
Ferrari is a team that in the past has not shied away from deploying a first and second driver, Sainz having at various points in his Ferrari tenure been faced with speculation that he could fall into this role alongside Leclerc.
That is yet to happen and Vasseur assured both drivers receive equal treatment at Ferrari, which he believes is evidenced in the similar points tallies posted for F1 2023, Leclerc scoring 206 points to Sainz’s 200. Sainz meanwhile was the only non-Red Bull grand prix winner of the season, taking the chequered flag in Singapore.
“We have two drivers who finished with almost the same score,” Vasseur pointed out.
“We had been here talking about first driver and second driver and I had assured them that they would be treated equally. And I think we have proved that.”
Sainz will be hoping for more than just the one victory next season with Leclerc also wanting in on the action, as the chasing pack look to apply pressure on Red Bull after their record-breaking F1 2023.
Vasseur confirmed that both drivers have been fully involved with the development of Ferrari’s F1 2024 challenger, but urged caution over expectations going into the upcoming campaign.
“The two drivers are fully involved in the development,” Vasseur confirmed. “They were also quite happy, but that is no indication of how the season will go.”
Ferrari are still searching for their first F1 title triumph since winning the Constructors’ Championship in 2008.