Thursday was an interesting day in the world of Formula 1, as Charles Leclerc’s contract extension was finally announced by Ferrari.
Ferrari confirmed that Leclerc had signed a multi-year extension, although it’s unknown just how many years he’s signed on for.
The big rumour going around is that his deal is for five years, with it to expire at the end of 2029.
If this is the case, then it’ll make him the most contractually secure driver on the grid, a position currently held by Max Verstappen whose contract doesn’t expire until the end of 2028.
Extending Leclerc’s contract before the 2024 season gets underway was an essential piece of work by Ferrari, although it now raises questions over what’s happening with Carlos Sainz.
Sainz’s future looks much more uncertain currently, with him reportedly having disagreed with the Italians.
The Spanish driver is believed to want a two-year contract extension which would take him to the end of 2026, and would see him enter the new power unit regulations as a Ferrari driver.
However, the Maranello-based side are supposedly not wanting to give him more than a one-year extension.
This would see Sainz remain at Ferrari until the end of 2025 but then be without a seat for the new regulations.
If this is the case, then it’s not actually a big problem for the 29-year-old, who reportedly signed a pre-contract agreement with Audi last year.
Whilst this isn’t legally binding, it would guarantee him a spot on the grid for 2026, when the German manufacturer complete their 75 per cent takeover of Sauber.
There’s no doubting that the Ferrari seat is a better one to have, but the last thing Sainz needs is to enter the new season without a deal sorted for the following campaign.
This would put Sainz at risk of being offered no extension at all, if he perhaps fails to perform in the opening rounds or makes driver errors.
With just a month until F1 roars back into action, it’s a precarious position for Sainz, who is clearly less favoured than Leclerc.
Leclerc does have age on his side and is viewed as Ferrari’s best hope of claiming a first title since 2008, hence why he’s been given a deal for multiple seasons.