Charles Leclerc will drive for Scuderia Ferrari until at least the end of the 2024 season after securing a five-year contract extension with the team.
The Monégasque driver has been part of the Ferrari programme since 2016 when he was signed to its driver academy scheme. After romping to the Formula 2 Championship title in 2017, he made his Formula 1 debut on loan to Sauber the following year.
Several standout performances gave Ferrari the impetus to promote him to its race line-up for the 2019 season, with Leclerc taking over Kimi Räikkönen’s seat while the 2008 World Champion moved the other way.
Paired alongside Sebastian Vettel, Leclerc immediately put the four-time World Champion on notice and claimed a season-high seven pole positions.
Mechanical problems denied him a maiden victory at the Bahrain Grand Prix and it took until September’s Belgian race before he finally broke through for his first win which was swiftly followed by a second visit to the top step of the podium at Ferrari’s home race at Monza.
The 22-year-old eventually finished fourth overall in the Drivers’ Championship standings, critically ahead of his more experienced teammate with whom he clashed on several occasions.
“I am very happy to be staying on with Scuderia Ferrari,” said Leclerc. “This past season, driving for the most illustrious team in Formula 1 has been a dream year for me.
“I cannot wait to enjoy an even deeper relationship with the team after what has been an intense and exciting 2019. I’m keen to see what the future holds and I can’t wait to get going again next season.”
Team boss Mattia Binotto added: “With each passing race this year, our wish to extend our contract with Charles became ever more self-evident and the decision means he will now be with us for the next five seasons.
“It demonstrates that Charles and the Scuderia have a firm future together.
“Charles has been part of our family since 2016 and we are more than proud of the results we are achieving with our Academy.
“We are therefore very pleased to be able to announce that he will be with us for many years to come and I’m sure that together, we will write many new pages in the history of the Prancing Horse.”
Leclerc and Vettel will therefore form an unchanged driver pairing for the 2020 season, with Vettel’s current contract expiring at the end of the forthcoming season.
Image via Scuderia Ferrari