Charles Leclerc says he’s not ruling out joining Mercedes

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc has been linked with a move to Mercedes, as Lewis Hamilton’s future remains in doubt.

After a challenging start to the 2023 season and following disappointment last year, there has been mounting speculation that Charles Leclerc is interested in moving away from Ferrari.

It is no secret that Leclerc was frustrated with the performance of his team last season, finding his best shot at a maiden Drivers’ Championship thrown away by poor strategy calls.

Most notably, Leclerc’s shot at a first victory in his home race of Monaco last year was ripped out of his grasp when he was called into the pits mistakenly, as the team double stacked, allowing both Red Bulls to pass him.

Following this disappointment, Leclerc has been linked with Mercedes after Italian media reported that it’s an “open secret” in the paddock he’s been talking with team principal Toto Wolff.

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In Azerbaijan, Leclerc was asked directly about the claims he is preparing to jump to the Silver Arrows, exiting his contract with Ferrari early.

“No, not yet, not for the moment. For now, I am fully focused on the project I am in today, which is Ferrari,” Leclerc said, failing to rule out leaving the Italian team in the future. 

“I fully trust and I am confident for the future, then we will see, but I am fully confident for the project of Ferrari.

“I’m fully committed to Ferrari and I love Ferrari. 

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“It has always been a dream for me to be in this team, and my main priority is to win a world championship with this team, so it’s not something in my mind.”

Ferrari team principal Fred Vasseur also weighed in on the rumours he could lose one of his drivers shortly after taking over the management of the Italian outfit. 

“Drivers are key. I said yesterday, it’s very important to have the drivers involved with the project and for a long time,” Vasseur said. 

“I’m sure we have a good combination and, the question about Charles, it’s a question as usual.

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“But I think Charles said also that he wants to be world champion with Ferrari, and I want to be world champion with Charles or with Carlos [Sainz].”

After two DNFs in three races, Leclerc is currently sat in P10 in the Drivers’ Championship but his luck could be about to change in Azerbaijan after he secured pole for the Grand Prix and sprint race.

Following a last lap crash in the sprint race, Leclerc will be hoping to escape an incident this year in Baku, where his race ended early in 2021 after he hit the barriers at the castle turn.