Leclerc responds to suggestion he could replace Hamilton

Charles Leclerc insists he is happy at Ferrari and remains determined to win the F1 world title with the team, despite being linked with Mercedes in the future. 
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG

Leclerc had to settle with runner-up spot in the F1 2022 drivers’ standings after Ferrari’s title challenge spectacularly collapsed, allowing Red Bull’s Max Verstappen to romp to a dominant second successive world championship. 

Despite the disappointment of failing to win the crown in his first proper title fight, the Monegasque did enjoy his strongest F1 season to date, winning three races and taking nine pole positions - the most of any driver in 2022. 

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Leclerc, who is tied down to Ferrari until 2024, was asked about his future in an interview with French outlet L’Equipe

Although Leclerc stressed driving for Ferrari has always been his “dream”, he did not directly rule out a potential switch to Mercedes. 

“2024 is still a long time away and there is still a little time left at Ferrari,” Leclerc said. “This team has always been my dream.

“My objective for now is to win with Ferrari. Then we'll see. I am very happy at Ferrari and I want to win with them.” 

Charles Leclerc (FRA), Scuderia Ferrari Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 22, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu
Charles Leclerc (FRA), Scuderia Ferrari Formula 1 World Championship, Rd…

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has previously left the door open to the German manufacturer potentially making a move for either Leclerc or Verstappen one day, but not while Lewis Hamilton is still at the team. 

Hamilton’s current deal with Mercedes is due to expire at the end of F1 2023 but the seven-time world champion has confirmed he plans to sign a new “multi-year” contract.

The 37-year-old had previously made it clear he did plan to still be racing in his 40s but his controversial title loss in the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, coupled with a challenging season for Mercedes in 2022, have prompted Hamilton to prolong his career. 

Should Hamilton commit to fresh terms, and with George Russell viewed as the long-term future of Mercedes, there doesn’t appear to be an opening at Mercedes before 2025. 

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