DECEMBER 5, 2023

Mega Leclerc contract good move says former boss

Offering Charles Leclerc a mega new Formula 1 contract is a "good move", according to former Ferrari team boss Cesare Fiorano.

Charles Leclerc, Abu Dhabi GP 2023
© Ferrari

It is rumoured this week that while the Maranello team may only offer a one-year extension for 2025 to Carlos Sainz, Frederic Vasseur is in the process of signing a whopping 2025-2029 deal for Leclerc with a doubled salary to EUR 50m per year.

I think it's a good move, Fiorio told La Gazzetta dello Sport, "because he's adding to his speed and skill the ability to limit the number of errors he makes.

Until recently he committed too many of them, the 84-year-old Italian added. "(Max) Verstappen is the same age as him, but he too made a lot of mistakes in the early years.

Now Leclerc is moving towards the kind of maturity that Max and Lewis Hamilton have.

Fiorio also thinks Ferrari would be right to also keep working with Spaniard Sainz.

They make a few too many mistakes, but they are both very fast, he said.

Leclerc is better in qualifying and faster than his teammate, even if we're talking about tenths, not half a second. Sainz is overall more skilled in managing a race.

As for Ferrari's new boss Vasseur, Fiorio - who was sporting director at Ferrari between 1989 and 1991 - thinks the Frenchman did a good job in his first year in charge of the fabled Italian team.

He is undoubtedly a great professional and someone who knows his job very well, also because he has practically always been doing it, he said.

In Formula 1, his CV in terms of results isn't that exceptional, and overall it's not like he did any better than (Mattia) Binotto. But he is a great professional and we will see the true fruit of his work in 2024.

Whether Ferrari can catch up with Red Bull in 2024, however, may be another matter.

A good job was done compared to Mercedes, said Fiorio, "given that they (Red Bull) were almost caught. In general I see that several teams behind Red Bull are at the same level. The problem is obviously Red Bull.

But it has always been like this in F1, with periods of more or less absolute dominance. But it never lasts forever.

As for Ferrari's workload over the winter, he explained: "It seems to me that on the engine front, nothing more is needed. But work is needed to resolve the problems in the fast corners.

"A step is also needed in terms of strategies, as we saw some errors. We need more creativity, more intuition, not following the decisions of other teams.

This year was quite an uphill battle, said the Italian, but overall, Ferrari confirmed that it has first-rate staff, excellent mechanics and engineers of great value. That is, everything that is needed to return to maximum competitiveness as soon as possible.