Bernie Ecclestone breaks silence on Ferrari sacking Charles Leclerc for Lewis Hamilton

Charles Leclerc has been Ferrari's lead driver ever since he joined the team as Sebastian Vettel's team-mate.

Ex-Formula 1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone believes seven-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton should remain at Mercedes beyond this season, with the Germans having a “lot of respect for him”.

Hamilton’s future has been a huge talking point ahead of this weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix after it was reported that Ferrari are considering a £40 million offer for the 38-year-old, to tempt him away from Brackley.

With the offer supposedly being less than he’s currently on, Ferrari will need to increase their offer to get the Mercedes driver’s attention; however, Ecclestone doesn’t think Hamilton should even be considering a switch to Maranello.

According to reports, Ferrari would be open to releasing Carlos Sainz to make room for Hamilton, or to offer Charles Leclerc to Mercedes.

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Given how much Ferrari “love” Leclerc, Ecclestone doesn’t see why the side would even consider letting him go, with the 92-year-old noting that there must be a “problem” at Maranello should Leclerc depart.

Leclerc has been linked himself to Mercedes in recent weeks, with Italian media having reported that the 25-year-old is holding secret conversations with the Silver Arrows.

For Hamilton at least, Ecclestone doesn’t see the logic behind a move to Ferrari, with him being looked after so incredibly well by the Brackley-based team.

“I would be surprised that Ferrari would want to get rid of Leclerc to sign Lewis because they are very much in love with Leclerc,” Ecclestone told Press Association.

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“Lewis has said that when he does decide to stop he would still want to be connected with Mercedes so it would surprise me if he wanted to leave.

“And if I was Lewis and I saw that Leclerc is happy to leave Ferrari, I would think there has to be a problem there.

“I also don’t know why Lewis would think he would be better off at Ferrari than where he is at the moment.

“He knows everything well and truly at Mercedes. They know him, and they have a lot of respect for him so he couldn’t be better looked after anywhere.”

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Hamilton has previously admitted that he’s considered a move to Ferrari, but that Mercedes is ultimately “my home”, with a new deal being worked on.

“I thought about and watched the Ferrari drivers on the screens at the track and of course you wonder what it would be like to be in red,” Hamilton recently told ESPN.

“But then I go to my team, to Mercedes, and this is my home. I’m happy where I am. I haven’t signed a contract yet, but we are working on one.”