Charles Leclerc opens door to replacing Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes
F1 

Mick Schumacher drives his father’s Ferrari F2003-GA

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Charles Leclerc has not ruled out ditching Ferrari for Mercedes in a hint he could replace Lewis Hamilton. Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has previously suggested he would be open for Leclerc to drive for the Silver Arrows.

Leclerc, whose contract expires in 2024, claimed he was happy at the Italian marque but left an air of uncertainty surrounding his long-term future. He told L’Equipe: “2024 is still a long time away and there is still a little time left at Ferrari. This team has always been my dream.

“My objective for now is to win with Ferrari. Then we’ll see. I am very happy at Ferrari and I want to win with them.” His remarks come after Wolff assessed Mercedes could attract the best talent to their cars.

In an interview ahead of the 2020 season, Wolff did not deny that he could be tempted to swoop for Leclerc or Max Verstappen.

leclerc

He explained: “Contracts are often more complex than the media portrays. As long as we have a fast car, because this is our first priority, we will always have a situation where we can choose who drives it.”

Leclerc signed a multi-year deal with the Prancing Horse at the end of 2019, locking him at the Scuderia until the end of 2024. Hamilton’s contract concludes at the end of 2023 but the seven-time champion has revealed he will sign a new deal.

But, in previous interviews, the Mercedes star has admitted he wanted to leave the sport by 40. This means he could be tempted to sign a one-year extension to the end of 2024, retiring aged 39.

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Leclerc’s comments come after a frustrating year for the 25-year-old where he lost the chance to battle Verstappen for the crown. The Monegasque won two of the first three races of the season but strategy mistakes and driver errors cost them a shot.

Rumours suggest there are tensions inside the Ferrari camp with team boss Mattia Binotto’s future looking uncertain. L’Equipe claim Binotto and Leclerc are no longer on speaking terms after a feud at the British Grand Prix.

Binotto was spotted telling off Leclerc in front of TV cameras after the F1 star hit back at the team’s decisions. Ferrari have cooled down suggestions Binotto could lose his job, announcing the reports were unfounded.

A statement read: “In relation to speculation in certain media regarding Scuderia Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto’s position, Ferrari states that these rumours are totally without foundation.”

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