Leclerc’s Ferrari patience: A future champion’s resolve for the decade

Gian Carlo Minardi, the former F1 team owner and boss, has voiced his opinion on the potential of Charles Leclerc securing a new and lucrative long-term contract with Ferrari, seeing it as a beneficial move for the iconic Italian team. Amidst rumors of Ferrari aiming to keep Leclerc until the end of the decade with a doubled salary, and Carlos Sainz being offered a new two-year deal through 2026, Minardi expressed his thoughts to La Gazzetta dello Sport.

“They are a good, close-knit team together,” Minardi said about Leclerc and Sainz, “although it’s true they both made mistakes. I don’t know how much is their fault and how much is to overcome the machine’s difficulties, but those mistakes will serve to grow and improve Ferrari’s results.”

Leclerc, currently tight-lipped about any imminent contract announcements, remains committed to Ferrari for the long haul. In a new interview with Auto Motor und Sport, he reflected on his journey with Ferrari since 2019. “I have become older and more mature,” he shared. “If I’ve learned anything at Ferrari, it’s patience. The dream of my life is to become world champion with Ferrari. You can’t force that. This long-term project is worth being patient.”

Acknowledging the challenges ahead, Leclerc remains optimistic yet realistic about Ferrari’s prospects against Red Bull in 2024. “I am 100 percent convinced that we will take a step forward next year,” he insists. “Unfortunately, everything in this sport is relative. If Red Bull finds another second, not much will change. We’re not talking about a tenth that we have to catch up in race trim, but many tenths. That means a lot of work, and everyone is aware of that. But I trust this team because we don’t lie to each other. That’s why I also believe that we will catch up. I just can’t tell you a timeframe.”

Leclerc also addressed the unique pressure that comes with being part of Ferrari. “Others might get away with it more easily, but we have to live with it,” he said. “Ferrari is Ferrari for a reason. There’s just a completely different passion here. Anyone who signs a contract with Ferrari, whether a driver or in any other capacity, must accept that they will be under more pressure than others. And I don’t have a problem with that. And I think we’re dealing with this better than we did in the past.”

When asked about Leclerc’s rumored new deal through 2029, Minardi commented, “It would be a positive sign of continuity – one of the characteristics that Ferrari has lacked in recent years. If I were Leclerc, however, I would try to be more incisive about the team’s decision-making.”

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