Charles Leclerc says he has begun preliminary contract talks with Ferrari but has no firm deadline given the amount of time still remaining on his current deal.
Ferrari team principal Fred Vasseur stated earlier this year that opening discussions with Leclerc about a contract extension was not a priority, as he wants the team to focus on delivering more performance. Now with 18 months until his contract expires, Leclerc says he’s also not in a rush to agree a new deal but that talks have begun.
“No, I don’t have any particular deadlines,” Leclerc said. “I mean, I still feel like a year-and-a-half is a long way to go. But I didn’t tell myself any particular deadlines.
“Slowly. We’re starting slowly to speak about it, yes.”
Leclerc insists he isn’t considering options with other teams at this stage, saying he wants to repay the faith that Ferrari has shown in him as a driver but also wants to see improvements in terms of performance.
“To be honest, it’s not really on my mind yet. When I say we ‘slowly’ started talking about it, it’s just here and there, but nothing special, nothing specific. Again, I feel like it’s a long way to go and I don’t feel it’s now the time to start talking about it.
“Ferrari has been the team that has helped me to get to where I am. I’ve never hidden that I’ve always been extremely happy to be in Ferrari. Of course, the team and I are not happy with where we are at the moment, but I am confident that we are working in the right direction. Again, I love Ferrari, so I’m happy here.
“It’s probably the first time in my career that I’m in this position (with potential interest). I don’t think it’s because nobody wanted me in the past, it’s just because of the nature of the contract, it’s the first time in my career that I actually get closer to a deal to end in Formula 1. And all of the other changes I’ve made until now — basically, Sauber to Ferrari was quite straightforward.
“So, it is a different situation I find myself in in my career. But I don’t mind — I’m just focusing on driving. I just hope to win as quickly as possible at Ferrari for now and then we will see.”