Scuderia Ferrari fans have received an early Christmas present after it was announced that Charles Leclerc would be driving with the team until 2024.
Leclerc, who won two Grand Prix and qualified on pole position seven times during his first season at the Scuderia, has quickly earned a reputation as one of the most talented drivers on the grid and looks set to be a challenger for the 2020 World Championship.
He beat team-mate Sebastian Vettel in the championship despite the German having been with the squad since 2015, with Leclerc excited to see what the future holds for him now that his long-term place in the sport is secured.
“I am very happy to be staying on with Scuderia Ferrari,” said Leclerc. “This past season, driving for the most illustrious team in Formula 1 has been a dream year for me.
“I cannot wait to enjoy an even deeper relationship with the team after what has been an intense and exciting 2019, I’m keen to see what the future holds and I can’t wait to get going again next season.”
Leclerc and Ferrari ‘Have a Firm Future Together’ – Binotto
Team principal Mattia Binotto has revealed his delight in extending Leclerc’s relationship with Ferrari, with the Monegasque racer having been a part of the Maranello-based outfit since 2016.
Back then, he was signed up to join Ferrari’s young driver academy, and he won both the GP3 Series and FIA Formula 2 championship in consecutive years, the first driver to do so. He was promoted to Formula 1 with the Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team in 2018, before moving to the main Ferrari team in 2019.
“With each passing race this year, our wish to extend our contract with Charles became ever more self-evident and the decision means he will now be with us for the next five seasons,” said Binotto. “It demonstrates that Charles and the Scuderia have a firm future together.
“Charles has been part of our family since 2016 and we are more than proud of the results we are achieving with our Academy. We are therefore very pleased to be able to announce that he will be with us for many years to come and I’m sure that together, we will write many new pages in the history of the Prancing Horse.”
The news that Leclerc has extended his deal to 2024 changes the driver market substantially, as there will be only one seat at Ferrari available beyond next season. Lewis Hamilton has been consistently linked to replace Vettel at the Scuderia for 2021, and his partnership with Leclerc could give Ferrari a possible dream line-up.