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Ferrari look to keep Leclerc and Sainz beyond 2024

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Well-connected Italian Formula 1 journalist Daniele Sparisci reports that Ferrari are planning contract extensions with Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz, the Scuderia looking to keep the pair at Maranello under Fred Vasseur’s watch.

Both Charlies have deals running until the end of next year with the Reds. While there have been occasional tensions between the pair, all-in-all they have co-existed harmoniously. The consensus is that Leclerc is the generally faster of the two, but Sainz is the shrewder and usually the better racer.

How they will behave towards one another when they have a championship-winning car, a regular winning Ferrari, remains to be seen… Until then retaining the duo.

Howevr, for most of this year, Sainz has been linked with a move to Audi where he would reunite with Andreas Seidl. The pair worked together at McLaren. There is mutual respect.

But Corriere della Sera scribe, as a guest on Pit-Talk Sparisci revealed other plans afoot at Maranello: “In the end, the foundations will be laid for the renewal of both drivers. Ferrari has two good drivers, they would have no reason to look for others.

“Also, both Leclerc and Sainz do not have valid alternatives to Ferrari. At Red Bull, they have Perez for 2024 for example. At Mercedes, both drivers have renewed for two seasons. No doors will open before 2025…”

In the fickle F1 driver market, the “hot” prospects are Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri, simply because McLaren have a very capable car for their drivers to shine in, and that they have been doing. So much so that Norris has been linked with Red Bull, as Max Verstappen’s teammate. And of course Ferrari.

Sparisci affirmed: “A big player like Norris is highly courted but this is all linked to McLaren’s improvement. If they are able to provide Norris with a competitive car in future why should he leave?”

What about Sainz’s mooted Audi connection?

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On the prospect of Sainz ditching Ferrari for Audi, Sparisci commented: “This has been spoken about for a long time because his Dad (rally legend Carlos Sainz Snr.) races with Audi… It’s one of those rumours that always surround us until finally the announcement that the driver stays with the same team is made.

“A bit like what happened with Hamilton, when he still had to renew with Mercedes, there was the supposed Ferrari talk. And then came the press release from Mercedes that Hamilton had signed for another two years!”

More on the Sainz to Audi claims, Sparisci continued: “Audi is a new team entering F1 and therefore needs to gain experience. But that takes several years! Look at [Daniel] Ricciardo, for example, someone who changed many teams and then returned to AlphaTauri…

“As soon as you out of a top team, F1 is an unforgiving world that doesn’t give discounts. Look at [Valterri] Bottas, a driver who has won several races in F1 and is now floundering at the back… So I would be very careful about believing these rumours about Sainz to Audi. Because Ferrari is holding on tight,” claimed Sparisci.

After all Ferrari is the Formula 1 team every driver aspires, even dreams, to drive for, thus renewing homegrown Leclerc is a slam-dunk to remain with the great team, despite apparent overtures from Mercedes and (rumours?) Audi too.

Meanwhile, earlier this year when the Audi story broke, Sainz was adamant: “My intention is to stay at Ferrari for many years. I don’t understand why they are talking about 2026 when I currently don’t even have a contract for 2025. It annoys me that these totally invented rumours come out.”