Scuderia Ferrari experienced a much more encouraging season in 2021, often being in contention for race victories, albeit with some strategic and operational blunders throughout the year. Charles Leclerc has spent much of his racing career with Ferrari, and the mutual love between the two is well-established in F1, but it would be foolhardy to assume this will last forever.
The 25-year-old is now entering his fifth year with the team, and the pressure to deliver will only increase as his contract expires at the end of 2024. The Monegasque’s patience can only be tested so far and there is no obvious alternative for him in the market, so it is important for Ferrari to keep Leclerc in the long term.
Carlos Sainz‘s contract also expires at the end of 2023, but the Spaniard will have less pull and influence than his teammate. Fred Vasseur’s arrival could help improve the team’s relationship with Leclerc, as well as the lack of drivers from the Ferrari academy ready to race in Formula 1.
Producing a Competitive Car
Ferrari’s relationship with Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel eventually broke down after failed Championship attempts, so preventing this from re-occurring is a priority. If this year’s Ferrari machine is capable of fighting at the front consistently, then Leclerc will likely agree to a contract extension quickly.
Red Bull and Mercedes have already offered long-term deals to Verstappen and Russell respectively, and Hamilton’s longevity with the Silver Arrows is a sign of what Ferrari aim to replicate with Leclerc. The importance of producing a competitive car cannot be overstated and the Italian squad must demonstrate they are capable of fighting for a Championship.
It would be overly simplistic to suggest that Vasseur’s arrival is exclusively to improve the team’s relationship with Leclerc, but this factor should not be overlooked. Ultimately, it is important for Ferrari to show that they are capable of competing for a Championship if they wish to keep Leclerc in the long term.
Source : formu1a.uno