New Charles Leclerc deal praised by ex-Ferrari sporting director

Charles Leclerc has reportedly been given the longest contract in Ferrari's history.

Ex-Ferrari sporting director Cesare Fiorio believes Charles Leclerc’s reported new five-year deal is a “good move” by the Maranello-based side, as the Monegasque is now their driver until at least the end of 2029.

It’s been reported by La Gazzetta dello Sport that Leclerc has agreed to a huge five-year contract extension, in what is the biggest deal Ferrari has ever offered a driver.

Leclerc’s current deal expires at the end of 2024, although his new contract means he has the longest contract on the Formula 1 grid.

The 26-year-old will be 32 years old when his new deal expires, by at which point the new power unit regulations will have been in use for four seasons.

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Keeping Leclerc for that ties the driver to the team for effectively his entire F1 career, with him still very much being viewed as the star to bring Maranello title glory.

It’s now down to Ferrari to give him the machinery to compete with Max Verstappen.

Fiorio believes it’s a smart move by both Ferrari and Leclerc, especially as the young driver is starting to become more mature like Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton.

“I think it’s a good move,” Fiorio told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

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“Until recently he committed too many mistakes,” Fiorio admitted.

“Now Leclerc is moving towards the kind of maturity that Max and Lewis Hamilton have.”

The deal shows just how much Ferrari value Leclerc, with the side now being able to plan their future around him.

This somewhat leaves Carlos Sainz in the dark, as he also is in need of a new contract with his current deal expiring at the end of 2024.

Reportedly, Sainz and Ferrari have reached a disagreement in discussions about an extension, as the Spaniard wants a two-year deal, whilst the Italians only want to offer him a contract for 2025.

It’s believed that this is so they can approach Lando Norris for 2026, as his deal with McLaren expires right before the new engine regs are introduced.

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Despite this, Fiorio thinks Ferrari should keep Sainz for now, as he’s “more skilled” than Leclerc when it comes to race management.

This was proven at the Singapore Grand Prix, where Sainz’s ability to keep giving Norris DRS ensured that he won the race at the Marina Bay Circuit.

“Leclerc is better in qualifying and faster than his teammate, even if we’re talking about tenths, not half a second. Sainz is overall more skilled in managing a race.”