Ferrari’s No1 priority in the driver market pinpointed as talks rumble on

Tying down Charles Leclerc to a new contract is reportedly Ferrari’s priority in the driver market.
Charles Leclerc (MON) Ferrari SF-23. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 21, Brazilian Grand Prix, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sprint
Charles Leclerc (MON) Ferrari SF-23. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 21…

The F1 2024 driver line-up is identical to 2023’s - it is the first time in history that every driver is unchanged from the previous year.

But amid a sea of expiring contracts and impatient team principals, the chopping and changing of drivers could begin from the earliest months of the new season.

Ferrari, the only team apart from Red Bull to win an F1 grand prix last year, are busy battling away to secure their long-term driver duo.

Leclerc has been in talks over a new contract for some time although he hasn’t yet put pen to paper.

“Sources say contract talks with Leclerc are taking precedence,” Lawrence Barretto at reports about Ferrari’s plans.

Leclerc was paid a reported $19m last year but will want a significant pay rise to commit the next few years to Ferrari.

His current deal will expire at the end of the season.

Italian media reported last month that he had agreed a new five-year deal to stay until the end of 2029.

Ferrari team principal Fred Vasseur pointed out that Mercedes required half of last season until they finalised Lewis Hamilton’s new contract, suggesting Leclerc’s time-frame may be similar.

"We are not in a rush to extend the deals but have started discussions,” Vasseur told Sky in Italy. 

“Mercedes did it in August. We are not in a rush at all.”

The competitiveness in the early grands prix may influence Leclerc’s decision or whether to stay or go.

But he will also be aware that Ferrari might still be his best bet, because Red Bull will keep Max Verstappen plus one other in 2025, while Mercedes are committed to Hamilton and George Russell.

Read More