Aug.30 (GMM) Charles Leclerc has given another hint that he definitely sees his future in red.
Ferrari, but particularly the Monegasque, driver had a poor weekend at Zandvoort, amid rumours he is not currently keen for contract talks beyond 2024.
However, the 25-year-old denied in conversation with La Repubblica newspaper that he has had talks with Mercedes’ Toto Wolff.
“Nothing real or serious, ever,” Leclerc insisted.
“I love Ferrari, I believe in it like the first day and as long as it is like this I will be there,” he added.
1979 world champion Jody Scheckter told Osterreich newspaper that he sympathises with Leclerc as the de-facto lead Ferrari driver, as the famous Italian team always seems to be in crisis.
“Even in my time, the last Ferrari world champion was ages ago,” he said. “These ups and downs are simply part of Ferrari.
“The reason is also in the Italian mentality, where consistency is not the top priority, but emotion.”
And Leclerc said that while times are often tough at Ferrari, his dream of being the first world champion in red since Kimi Raikkonen is still alive.
“I know that right now I don’t have the car to fight with Max (Verstappen),” he said, “but I have no doubts that my path is right.
“I’ll look back at my career when I stop, but I have no regrets or remorse. I’m happy at Ferrari,” Leclerc added.
That is despite the fact that, at the wheel of a Red Bull, Verstappen is heading to Ferrari’s home turf at Monza this weekend with a chance of securing a record tenth consecutive grand prix win.
“Am I comparing myself to Max? Yes and no,” Leclerc said. “But I would never trade places with him.
“Every time I close my visor, I think only about victory. But winning the race this season will not be easy. There are so many things that need to be improved.
“We need stability,” he explained. “The main thing is to get ahead of the teams competing for second in the constructors’ championship. Then Red Bull is the next goal.”
Most F1 pundits believe that, despite his often visible and audible frustration, Leclerc is in fact comfortable at Ferrari – especially since Mattia Binotto was replaced as team boss this year by Frederic Vasseur.
“I agree with all of his plans,” Leclerc revealed.
“He has a method of work that is different from that of Mattia. It’s interesting now to see the point of view of both of them and understand that you didn’t notice some things for so many years.
“It’s a direct relationship with Frederic. He communicates openly with me, without people in the middle, which helps me as a driver.”