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Leclerc addresses Mercedes links after Ferrari future update

Charles Leclerc's current Ferrari deal ends at the end of 2024, with Mercedes touted as a new team.

Charles Leclerc has addressed claims he could leave Ferrari for Formula 1 rivals Mercedes if the Scuderia continue to fail to deliver championship-winning equipment. Leclerc signed a bumper five-year deal in 2020 to firmly cement his status as Ferrari's long-term number one driver with Sebastian Vettel being eased out of that position and the team. The Monegasque driver was the spearhead of Ferrari's initial attack on the 2022 championship before a variety of strategic, reliability, and operational errors derailed his bid. With the driver market opening up over the next couple of seasons with the likes of Lewis Hamilton and Lando Norris also out of contract in the coming years, Leclerc has been touted as a possible replacement for Hamilton at Mercedes.

Leclerc on Ferrari future

"I know you are worried that I would go to Mercedes, but the truth is that there are no talks at all," he told the Italian newspaper QN . "I feel good here at Ferrari and I feel the enthusiasm of the people. The idea of ​​winning with Ferrari makes me excited." At the launch of the SF-23 at Fiorano, Leclerc was asked about his long-term future, admitting talks hadn't started yet over a renewal. "I think it's always important to be competitive," Leclerc told media including RacingNews365.com. "Speaking about my renewal in Ferrari, it is not something that I've been particularly thinking about already, there's still a long way to go, two years. "I will do my best, not for the negotiations but just for myself and for the team. "You will know for sure when the talks start, but it's not the time yet."

Impressed by Vasseur

During the off-season, Ferrari replaced team boss Mattia Binotto with Frederic Vasseur - who Leclerc had previously worked with during his rookie season at Sauber in 2018. When asked of his first impressions of Vasseur, Leclerc said he was impressed by how quickly the Frenchman had 'got' Ferrari. "I was very impressed by how well he introduced himself into the team, Ferrari is very different to whatever we are used to before, Ferrari is huge," Leclerc explained. "Once he got here, he understood extremely well the way Ferrari works in the first few days, and he's very clear in what he wants. 'He's extremely god at putting the people in the right mindset, the right ambience to give their best. "This is very important, so that's what he brings to Ferrari, and I am sure it will be a good thing."

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