Charles Leclerc has denied reports that he has entered preliminary talks with Mercedes regarding the possibility of a switch to the team should Lewis Hamilton decide to retire at the end of the season. According to an Italian publication Quotidiano Nazionale, Leclerc was supposedly in talks with Mercedes due to Ferrari‘s difficult start to the season, however, Leclerc, who has a contract with Ferrari until the end of 2024, confirmed that no talks had taken place. Speaking ahead of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, he stated that he was completely focused on Ferrari and their future projects.
Leclerc has not had any conversations with Toto Wolff, Mercedes team boss, regarding a drive with them. When asked if he had spoken to Wolff directly, Leclerc responded, “No. Zero. Zero. Really zero. You all smile because you don’t believe me, but I promise.” The driver reiterated his commitment to Ferrari and his love for the team. His priority is to win a world championship with the team and he is not looking at options elsewhere.
Hamilton, who has yet to sign an extension to his contract with Mercedes which expires at the end of 2023, stated that the rumors had no impact on his future. The driver has a good relationship with his team and is grateful for the journey they have been on together.
The rumors surrounding Leclerc joining Mercedes come during a difficult period for Ferrari as they lie in fourth place in the constructors’ standings, 97 points off the leaders Red Bull, after three races. In addition, on Wednesday, it was confirmed that the team’s racing director, Laurent Mekies, will leave the team to join AlphaTauri as a team principal at the start of 2024. This follows the departure of head of vehicle concept David Sanchez, who will be joining McLaren next year.
Despite a poor start to the season, Leclerc remains confident in Ferrari‘s future competitiveness. He revealed that team principal, Fred Vasseur, had been open regarding the team’s goals and how they aim to achieve them, assuring Leclerc of the team’s future success. “This gives me the confidence more than ever. As much as obviously it’s moving, I’m confident for the future,” said Leclerc.