Negotiations with Leclerc ‘Commencing’ Now, Says Vasseur

Ferrari has initiated contract discussions with Charles Leclerc, according to the team’s new leader Frederic Vasseur, contradicting his earlier statement that such talks would wait until season’s end.

Some speculate that Leclerc is less enthusiastic than his teammate Carlos Sainz to begin conversations regarding a contract extension past 2024.

“On my side, we are in quite a difficult situation at the moment and the priority is to first focus on the job we’ve got to do with the car because we are quite far off the Red Bull,” the 25-year-old said at Monza.

“But I would love to win a world championship with Ferrari and I’m not too worried about when the discussions will start. I’m not in a rush.”

Contrarily, Vasseur was cited by La Repubblica newspaper as stating: “We are starting to discuss the extension of Charles’ contract from 2025.

“He is part of the team. We have to give him the best car possible and he has to be the best driver he can be.”

Regarding Carlos Sainz, his father, who shares his name, was quoted this week claiming that Audi has shown interest in acquiring the 29-year-old Spaniard.

“I will continue at Ferrari until the end of 2024, when I have a contract,” Sainz Jr. commented at Monza.

“There are times when it is not worth commenting on rumours,” he added.

Speaking about Ferrari’s underperforming 2023 vehicle, Sainz revealed: “It is a big change and it is time to learn as much as possible for 2024,” while mentioning that the team is “using the second part of the year to test parts of the 2024 car that should and must be a step in another direction to now.”

In related news, ex-Ferrari chief Mattia Binotto was seen in the Monza paddock this Thursday, fueling speculation that he may be negotiating with Alpine to replace the recently ousted Otmar Szafnauer.