Ferrari has signed Charles Leclerc to a new five-year contract that will keep him at Maranello until the end of the 2024 season.
Leclerc was promoted to replace of Kimi Raikkonen and partner Sebastian Vettel after just one year racing in Formula 1 with Sauber, and duly impressed. The 22-year-old recorded seven pole positions – the most of any driver in 2019 – and picked up victories in Belgium and Italy as he finished fourth in the drivers’ championship ahead of his vastly more experienced teammate.
After joining the Ferrari Driver Academy in 2016, Leclerc’s rise has been rapid, and his first season racing for the Italian team was a special one, he admitted.
“I am very happy to be staying on with Scuderia Ferrari,” Leclerc said. “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 was 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’s first pole position came in only his second race for Ferrari in Bahrain, and team principal Mattia Binotto says the Monegasque quickly convinced the team that he is the right long-term prospect.
“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.”
Confirmation of Leclerc’s new deal leaves only Vettel’s future uncertain with the Scuderia. The German’s contract expires at the end of the 2020 season, and Lewis Hamilton has been linked with a move.