Speculation had been circulating that Charles Leclerc may be a potential replacement for Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes, should Hamilton decide not to extend his contract past this year. However, Leclerc has denied any contact with Mercedes or team boss Toto Wolff. At the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Wolff himself dismissed these rumours but praised Leclerc‘s abilities and acknowledged that having him as a future option would be valuable for the team in the long term. Wolff confirmed that he last spoke to Leclerc at Melbourne airport, and Leclerc‘s contract with Ferrari runs until the end of the 2024 season.
Wolff emphasized that, despite the rumours, Mercedes is fully committed to signing a new contract with Hamilton. The two parties have yet to officially come to an agreement on an extension, although their focus in recent weeks has been on addressing the problems with the W14 car. Wolff is confident that Mercedes still has a lot to offer and that Hamilton is motivated to achieve his eighth championship. Despite current difficulties, he believes that they have a good relationship personally and as a team, and that a winning package can be developed this season.
For the time being, Wolff has made it clear that Leclerc is not a short-term or medium-term option for Mercedes as he is under contract with Ferrari. However, Wolff also stated that Leclerc is an exceptional driver and one that Mercedes should keep on their radar. Leclerc‘s contract with Ferrari is set to end in 2024 and Wolff stressed the importance of always considering options for the future. Although Mercedes and Hamilton have yet to finalize their contract extension, the team remains confident that they can provide Hamilton with a competitive car that will enable him to secure his eighth championship.