Charles Leclerc has secures a new contract extension at Ferrari which will keep him at the Italian manufacturer until the end of the 2024 season.

After starring in his rookie Formula 1 campaign last year at Alfa Romeo, the Ferrari junior was promoted to the Scuderia team for 2019 alongside four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel.

Leclerc has continued to impress racing for Ferrari and secured an emotional maiden F1 Grand Prix victory in Belgium just a day after the passing of his friend Anthoine Hubert who died in a Formula 2 crash at Spa-Francorchamps.

A week later Leclerc went on to win Ferrari’s home race at Monza and with eighth further rostrum appearances this season he went on to finish fourth in the F1 drivers’ world championship.

The new F1 deal will see Leclerc stay at Ferrari until at least the end of the 2024 season – the longest contract on the current grid – while reports suggest the Monegasque has also tripled his salary at the Scuderia.

“I am very happy to be staying on with Scuderia Ferrari. This past season, driving for the most illustrious team in Formula 1 has been a dream year for me,” Leclerc said.

“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.”

Having seen Leclerc join the Ferrari fold back in 2016 as an academy member, team principal Mattia Binotto sees “a firm future together” after his standout first F1 season with the factory team.

“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,” Binotto said. “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.”

Leclerc duly becomes the first key signing in the F1 driver market for 2020 with the majority of drivers out of contract at the end of next season.

With Ferrari committing to a long-term future with Leclerc, attention will turn to his teammate Sebastian Vettel and what his next move will be.

The German driver joined Ferrari in 2015 with the hope of guiding the Italian manufacturer towards its first F1 world titles in almost a decade but after a pair of runner-up finishes in the world championship to Lewis Hamilton in 2017 and 2018 he was surpassed by Leclerc in the drivers’ standings this year.

Vettel and Leclerc shared a number of fractious moments as teammates this season which came to a head when the pair collided on track during the Brazilian Grand Prix which sent both Ferrari drivers out of the race as the fight for top spot at Ferrari intensified.

After both drivers were warned about their future conduct following the incident at Interlagos, Leclerc’s new long-term deal shows Ferrari’s faith in the 22-year-old which could leave Vettel in an uncertain position beyond next year. Vettel’s current Ferrari deal expires at the end of the 2020 season.

Towards the end of this year Hamilton had been strongly linked with a move to Ferrari from 2021 but since then both parties have distanced themselves from the rumours.

 

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