Charles Leclerc, driver of the #16 Ferrari

Rumor: Leclerc to Mercedes when Hamilton retires? (4th Update)

Charles Leclerc has denied negotiating with Mercedes’ Wolff.

Leclerc has given another hint that he definitely sees his future in red.

Charles Leclerc - Ferrari livery for the 2023 Italian GP at Monza
Charles Leclerc – Ferrari livery for the 2023 Italian GP at Monza

Ferrari, but particularly the Monegasque, driver had a poor weekend at Zandvoort, amid rumors he is not currently keen for contract talks beyond 2024.

However, the 25-year-old denied in conversation with La Repubblica newspaper that he has had talks with Mercedes’ Toto Wolff.

“Nothing real or serious, ever,” Leclerc insisted.

“I love Ferrari, I believe in it like the first day and as long as it is like this I will be there,” he added.

1979 world champion Jody Scheckter told Osterreich newspaper that he sympathizes with Leclerc as the de-facto lead Ferrari driver, as the famous Italian team always seems to be in crisis.

“Even in my time, the last Ferrari world champion was ages ago,” he said. “These ups and downs are simply part of Ferrari.

“The reason is also in the Italian mentality, where consistency is not the top priority, but emotion.”

And Leclerc said that while times are often tough at Ferrari, his dream of being the first world champion in red since Kimi Raikkonen is still alive.

“I know that right now I don’t have the car to fight with Max (Verstappen),” he said, “but I have no doubts that my path is right.

“I’ll look back at my career when I stop, but I have no regrets or remorse. I’m happy at Ferrari,” Leclerc added.

That is despite the fact that, at the wheel of a Red Bull, Verstappen is heading to Ferrari’s home turf at Monza this weekend with a chance of securing a record tenth consecutive grand prix win.

“Am I comparing myself to Max? Yes and no,” Leclerc said. “But I would never trade places with him.

“Every time I close my visor, I think only about victory. But winning the race this season will not be easy. There are so many things that need to be improved.

“We need stability,” he explained. “The main thing is to get ahead of the teams competing for second in the constructors’ championship. Then Red Bull is the next goal.”

Most F1 pundits believe that, despite his often visible and audible frustration, Leclerc is in fact comfortable at Ferrari – especially since Mattia Binotto was replaced as team boss this year by Frederic Vasseur.

“I agree with all of his plans,” Leclerc revealed.

“He has a method of work that is different from that of Mattia. It’s interesting now to see the point of view of both of them and understand that you didn’t notice some things for so many years.

“It’s a direct relationship with Frederic. He communicates openly with me, without people in the middle, which helps me as a driver.”

May 2, 2023 

–by Mark Cipolloni–

Toto Wolff has admitted Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc is on his “radar” as uncertainty over Lewis Hamilton’s future with the team continues.

Last week reports in Italy claimed it was an “open secret” that Leclerc had begun talks with Mercedes, but the Ferrari driver insisted on Thursday that there had “not yet” been any discussions with the rival team.

“Charles is a super guy and for the long-term future someone you have to have on your radar but not for the short and medium term.”

After appearing to leave the door open to future talks with Mercedes in his comments on Thursday, Leclerc said he was “fully committed to Ferrari.”

Wolff still hopes to re-sign Lewis Hamilton, but Hamilton is bulking because the Mercedes car is no longer superior, and he, therefore, can no longer win races.

Hamilton’s 6 titles with Mercedes were always about the superior car Aldo Costs gave him.

April 25, 2023 

–by Mark Cipolloni–

Charles Leclerc holding talks with Mercedes is an ‘open secret’ within the F1 paddock, according to Italian journalist Leo Turrini.

The Ferrari star’s contract expires at the end of next season and he would, on paper, represent a worthy replacement for Hamilton, whose own F1 future is in doubt.

The Brit’s deal expires at the end of this season, and he continues to stall on signing an extension.

While talks are alleged to have taken place between Leclerc and Mercedes, a move to Ferrari has also been talked up for Hamilton, although the Mercedes man insists that he has no intention of leaving.

It remains to be seen whether the 25-year-old Leclerc will sign an extension with Ferrari, but the huge distance between Ferrari and Red Bull in 2023 is unlikely to help the Italians’ cause.

If Leclerc does move on to pastures new, Hamilton could be the driver to take up the vacancy as ex-F1 team owner Eddie Jordan is among those to have talked up the possibility of a move in the other direction.

Hamilton previously admitted that it would be a ‘dream‘ to drive for Ferrari, but he has publicly maintained in recent months that he intends to finish his career with Mercedes, whom he joined in 2013.

Furthermore, Turrini poured cold water on claims that a move could be on the cards, explaining: “I know that Hamilton has never been close to the red team. There was never a deal. Never.”

February 19, 2023 

(GMM) Charles Leclerc has played down rumors he may soon be pressing his new boss for a new Ferrari contract.

It is rumored that the 25-year-old is very happy that Frederic Vasseur – his first Formula 1 boss from his Sauber days – replaced Mattia Binotto in charge of Ferrari over the winter.

Frédéric Vasseur, Ferrari F1 Team Principal & General Manager

“It’s impressive how quickly he got used to it,” Leclerc told Auto Motor und Sport.

“It’s not an easy task because Ferrari is different compared to other teams.”

Some believe fellow Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz is much more nervous about Vasseur’s arrival – given how close Leclerc and his manager Nicholas Todt are to the 54-year-old Frenchman.

“It doesn’t bother me at all,” Spaniard Sainz insists. “I have always been on good terms with my bosses in Formula 1.

“I am sure that when Frederic sees what I am capable of, my speed and my talent, he will respect me. We’ll get along.

“His good relationship with Charles will only help the team.”

But that good relationship may also help Leclerc’s forthcoming contract talks, amid reports of keen interest for 2025 and beyond from both Mercedes and Red Bull.

“I don’t want to put this topic on the table today,” Leclerc told Quotidiano Nazionale. “It wouldn’t be a good way to start the collaboration.

“We have to be focused on the sporting side and results.”

Many in the Italian media, however, see the risk of Leclerc’s defection to Mercedes in particular as quite high.

“There is no hurry,” Leclerc insists. “I know you are worried that I could go to Mercedes, but honestly there are no negotiations.

“I feel good at Ferrari – I feel the enthusiasm of the people. I am excited by the idea of crowning the dream, mine and everyone’s, of winning here.”

February 19, 2023 

According to F1 paddock fodder, Charles Leclerc could move to Mercedes when Lewis Hamilton retires.

There have been regular whispers in recent weeks about the potential for the Monegasque star to leave Ferrari and succeed the seven-time world champion with the Silver Arrows.

Leclerc’s current contract with the Scuderia ends following the 2024 season, while Hamilton himself is out of contract at the end of 2023. The British icon is expected to sign an extension, but speculation says it could just be a 1-year extension, and then he’ll move into a spokesperson role.

Leclerc is not admitting to it, saying “I know you are afraid that I might go to Mercedes after Hamilton, but honestly there’s been no negotiation. I’m happy at Ferrari.

“I feel the enthusiasm of the fans, I’m excited by the idea of achieving the dream – mine and everybody else’s – of winning with the red car.

“We will have three days of testing together with all of our competitors. It doesn’t make much sense to ask me how I judge our new car. The immediate impression was good, but it all depends on how it compares with the rest of the competition.”

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