What Charles Leclerc’s Contract Extension Means for Ferrari

December 5, 2023Ramon Jones
Formula 1

This week it was announced that Charles Leclerc had signed a 5 year contract extension through 2029 to drive for the Ferrari. The contract extension wasn’t a complete surprise. However, some questions were raised early in the season as to whether Leclerc wanted to continue his future in F1 with Ferrari after multiple mechanical issues, poor strategy calls and a string of bad luck. The last race of the season was defining for Ferrari as they let second place in the constructors championship slip from their grasps in the final moment due to a poor strategy call to pit Carlos Sainz late in the race. Leclerc offered his thoughts on the season.

Charles Leclerc Comments on the 2023 Season

“To be honest it’s been a disappointing season. After last year, we expected to come to this season and try and fight for the championship. After the first race, we straightaway understood how difficult it will be compared to the Red Bull that had done a huge step forward, especially in race pace. We didn’t do the same step. So, from that moment onwards, it was a bit disappointing.

“On the other hand, if you just look at this season – forget about last season – I think we’ve progressed quite a lot throughout the season which is positive and makes me confident for the future. But there’s a big gap to fill to get back to the Red Bulls so we’ll work hard during the winter break and hopefully we’ll come back stronger next year with a car that is capable of winning…very disappointed with that third place in the constructors’ as that was my only target since two or three races now. It was until the very last lap, I tried to give [Sergio Perez] the DRS for him to try and pull away five seconds to George, but that didn’t quite work out.”

Will Carlos Sainz Sign a Contract Extension?

Despite finishing the 2023 season behind Leclerc by just 6 points. Sainz’s form has been shaky at best in recent months. Unfortunately for Sainz, he has also been the victim of unfortunate track incidents as well as punitive action from the FIA stewards. Despite this, the pair were only separated by a few points so we think Sainz has an argument to keep his seat beyond his current contract which is set to expire in 2024.

Sainz has reportedly been offered a one year contract despite his desire to secure a two year contract that would see him through the 2026 season. The fact that Ferrari and Sainz have not yet come to an agreement might also feed the speculation that Sainz is potentially linked to a Red Bull move.

Sergio Perez finished second in the 2023 drivers championship. However his age and waning prowess on the track has start to come into question at various times this past season. Perez and Red Bull reserve driver Daniel Ricciardo are nearing the end of their F1 careers. Red Bull might have a good reason to sign Sainz if they feel that their number two driver could be strong in 2025. There are also other developments.

Should Ferrari Invest in New Talent or Build Off of 2023?

It looks like the beginning of the 2024 season will highly dictate the direction of the team. The last thing Ferrari needs is instability after having gone through multiple personnel and leadership changes over the past few years. However, a team that was fighting for podiums regularly in the last 10 years now finds itself fighting to barely make it out of the mid pack.

The latest rumor is that Lando Norris (McLaren) could be next in line for a seat at Ferrari. While no official announcement will likely be released for at least a year Norris is a contender for Sainz’s seat as Norris has show he has the pace to go toe to toe with the drivers at the front of the pack. Unfortunately, McLaren suffered from consistency issues at the start the 2023 campaign. These shortcomings ultimately set them back until the mid season break.

Do you think Sainz will lose his seat at Ferrari? Let us know here: Where is Ferrari Headed in 2024?