Charles Leclerc addressed the speculation over his Ferrari future for the first time since before the summer break, and said both sides are comfortable with where the negotiations are right now.
Speaking ahead of the 2023 Dutch Grand Prix, Leclerc painted a rosy picture for Ferrari fans, insisting it was just a matter of discussing and signing in a Hamilton-esque manner.
After the Belgian GP it was reported that Leclerc had signed a record-breaking two or three-year deal worth £160 million, but the driver himself laughed off those rumours at Zandvoort.
“I wish I did this deal, it looks like a good deal,” Leclerc told the media. “But no, there’s no new deals and no discussion whatsoever.
“But at one point, we’ll definitely have those discussions. I think my intentions are clear and then on the team side I don’t know, but I’m not too worried either. “
“It’s not the priority for now, we just want to try and work as much as possible on the car to get back to where we were last year, which was to fight for wins. And then we’ll see, but at the end of the season for sure, we’ll have those discussions.”
No deadlines for Leclerc in Ferrari negotiations
Leclerc‘s been part of Ferrari since 2016, and won GP3 and Formula 2 in successive seasons before making his F1 debut in 2018 at Sauber, while remaining contracted to Maranello.
There he impressed so much against Marcus Ericsson that he was called up to the top team for just his second season of F1, and he roundly beat Sebastian Vettel to signal an emphatic changing of the guard at the team.
That season – where Leclerc scored his first win, podium and pole position in the sport – forced Ferrari to lock him down for five years until the end of 2024, but the speculation around his next contract has already been audible for some time.
“I don’t even have any deadlines, I’m not that rushed,” Leclerc added. “I mean, I still have a year and a half, which seems a little in a way, because I’ve had a contract for five years. So now we are getting closer to the end.
“I’m fully convinced with the vision that Fred has for the team and we are definitely working in the right direction. How much it’ll take, I don’t know if it’s in two months or a year or three years – I hope not three years.
“But I am fully convinced that it’s the right approach to do. We’ve got new engineers coming to the team, a constant plan for the next few years to reinforce the team and I think this is the right way to go.”