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Leclerc opens Ferrari contract talks

The Monégasque is contracted with Ferrari through to the end of next season.

Charles Leclerc has insisted there is no rush to commit his future to Ferrari despite opening talks with the Scuderia over a new deal. The Monégasque originally signed to the end of 2022 when joining Ferrari but extended his stay after just one campaign in 2019 to ensure he would remain with the team until the end of next year. Despite signs of promise at the start of last term, a number of driver and strategic errors have added pressure onto the relationship between Leclerc and the team, with the latest coming in qualifying for the Canadian Grand Prix, where he was left stranded on Intermediates on a drying track to tumble out in Q2. Teammate Carlos Sainz recently suggested he would aim to avoid racing with only one year on his contract, which runs out at the same time as Leclerc's. Asked ahead of the Austrian Grand Prix weekend if he would also seek to cement his future before the start of next season, Leclerc told media, including RacingNews365.com : "No, I have not set any particular deadlines. "I still feel like a year and a half is a long way to go but I have not set myself any particular deadlines." On whether he had opened talks with Ferrari, Leclerc added: "Slowly, we are starting slowly to speak about it."

'Far from the level we want'

Ferrari had struggled for race pace in the opening seven races of the year but look to have turned a corner with a promising run in Canada last time out, where Red Bull Motorsport Advisor Helmut Marko suggested the Maranello-based marque was the fastest on track. "It was good but it is still far from the level that we want to achieve," conceded Leclerc. "I still believe Red Bull was the car to beat in Canada, though Helmut said we were the fastest car on track, which I don't believe. "It was a step in the right direction, especially in terms of consistency and feeling and whenever these two are together, normally the performance is better. "Here, it is a very different track and it is going to be important to confirm the positive feeling."

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