Ever since Charles Leclerc became the center of Ferrari’s Formula 1 future in 2019, it is safe to say they have underachieved together. Year after year, Ferrari have given Leclerc one of the fastest cars on the grid. However, certain issues have prevented the 26-year-old from achieving his true potential.
Many deemed the Monegasque driver to be a future Formula 1 world champion, but things have not looked promising thus far. With his contract due to expire at the end of the season, he opted to sign an extension, which may not have been the best move, considering how things have gone.
Since 2019, Leclerc has achieved 23 pole positions, but only four of those have translated to wins. A lot of his races were compromised due to poor strategy, car issues, or mistakes he made on his own.
Nevertheless, he has not accomplished what people thought he would when he signed for Ferrari, which are still in pursuit of their first world title since 2008. He owns just one win from a position other than pole on the grid.
Ferrari extension a mistake for Leclerc
There had been several months of rumors regarding an extension for Leclerc, and it was officially announced by Ferrari last week. The length of the extension was not publicly disclosed, but it is rumored to be long-term.
The Ferrari/Leclerc pairing has simply not worked out as well as anybody had hoped. The depth of issues is quite deep and goes as far as Leclerc crashing during a formation lap due to a hydraulics issue. Signing an extension right before the start of a 2024 season, one which should have been considered a “make or break” season, hardly seems like the correct decision.
Given that Leclerc’s frustration with the team has become so evident, a long-term commitment to a continuation of this partnership could prove detrimental.
He is slowly beginning to run out of time to win the world championship he has always wanted to win, and a shift of scenery to a more competitive team could have brought him his desired success -- and keep him both happy and in a good mental space.
If Leclerc had been targeting a particular team, perhaps a short-term extension of one or two years would have sufficed. However, after spending the last five years at Ferrari, it may have been better to move on after six rather than re-up for a similar amount of time.