Charles Leclerc has reportedly signed a staggering five-year contract extension with Ferrari, keeping him in red until at least the end of 2029.
The report comes from Italian publication La Gazzetta dello Sport, with the extension being the longest in Ferrari’s history.
A further report is under the impression that the 26-year-old will initially earn €25 million per season but that figure will increase to €50 million towards the end of the contract.
Leclerc has taken a massive gamble, considering that he’ll be 32 years old when the deal expires.
It means that he’ll spend at least four years with Ferrari in the new power unit regulations, where the pecking order won’t be discovered until 2026.
The Monegasque was always intent on staying with the Maranello-based side beyond his 2024 deal but very few thought his extension would be quite so long.
Leclerc is very much Ferrari’s golden child and is viewed as the person who’ll deliver them their first championship since 2008.
He’s clearly put his trust in the Italians to give him a competitive car for several years, as he likely wouldn’t have signed the deal otherwise.
Leclerc has proven on several occasions that he has the talent to fight for the Drivers’ Championship but it depends so much on Ferrari acing their package, strategies and pit-stops.
The Italians struggled with all three of those factors in 2023, as they entered this year with a disappointing car.
Whilst it did improve towards the end of the season, a new concept is being introduced for 2024.
Leclerc ended the recently completed campaign in P5 in the Drivers’ Championship, after finishing second in the last two races.
He was very much at his best in the closing stages of the season, having been inconsistent in the first half of the year.
Now that he’s tied down with Ferrari for so long, team principal Frederic Vasseur can work even closer with Leclerc to shape the team’s future, which will seemingly be based around the driver.
As for Carlos Sainz, it’s been speculated that he is keen for a two-year extension, which would see him also enter the new power unit regulations with the Italians.