Charles Leclerc, driver of the #16 Ferrari

F1 News: Long-term Leclerc deal ‘positive’ for Ferrari, says Minardi

(GMM) Former F1 team owner and boss Gian Carlo Minardi says a new long-term deal for Charles Leclerc at Ferrari would be “positive” for the Italian team.

It is rumored that the Maranello based team is moving to tie Leclerc to Ferrari until the end of the decade – with a doubled salary. Carlos Sainz, meanwhile, is reportedly being offered at least a new two-year deal through 2026.

“They are a good, close-knit team together,” Minardi told La Gazzetta dello Sport, “although it’s true they both made mistakes.

“I don’t know how much is their fault and how much is to overcome the machine’s difficulties, but those mistakes will serve to grow and improve Ferrari’s results.”

As for Leclerc himself, he is remaining tight-lipped about any imminent announcement about his new contract, but he is at least pledging his “long-term” future to Ferrari.

In a new interview with Auto Motor und Sport, the German magazine asked the 26-year-old how he is remaining so patient with Ferrari despite not yet winning a championship despite wearing red on the grid since 2019.

“I have become older and more mature,” he said this week. “If I’ve learned anything at Ferrari, it’s patience.

“The dream of my life is to become world champion with Ferrari. You can’t force that. This long-term project is worth being patient.”

Leclerc admits, for instance, that he may still not have a Red Bull-beating Ferrari in 2024 – the last season in his existing contract.

“I am 100 percent convinced that we will take a step forward next year,” he insists. “Unfortunately, everything in this sport is relative.

“If Red Bull finds another second, not much will change. We’re not talking about a tenth that we have to catch up in race trim, but many tenths. That means a lot of work, and everyone is aware of that.

“But I trust this team because we don’t lie to each other. That’s why I also believe that we will catch up. I just can’t tell you a timeframe.”

He also thinks Ferrari is getting better at dealing with the historical pressure that the Italian public and media, and the wider world, puts on the team.

“Others might get away with it more easily, but we have to live with it,” said Leclerc. “Ferrari is Ferrari for a reason. There’s just a completely different passion here.

“Anyone who signs a contract with Ferrari, whether a driver or in any other capacity, must accept that they will be under more pressure than others. And I don’t have a problem with that. And I think we’re dealing with this better than we did in the past.”

Finally, when asked about Leclerc’s rumored new long-term Ferrari deal through 2029, Minardi responded: “It would be a positive sign of continuity – one of the characteristics that Ferrari has lacked in recent years.

“If I were Leclerc, however, I would try to be more incisive about the team’s decision-making.”

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