Formula 1: Possible Max Verstappen teammate ruled out for 2025 and beyond

Charles Leclerc is officially set to extend his stay at Ferrari beyond the 2024 Formula 1 season, taking away the possibility of a "dream team" Red Bull pairing with Max Verstappen.
Max Verstappen, Charles Leclerc, Formula 1
Max Verstappen, Charles Leclerc, Formula 1 / Chris Graythen/GettyImages

Given the rumors in 2018 that Kimi Raikkonen had signed a new deal to remain with Ferrari through at least the 2019 Formula 1 season, it was hard to take similar rumors that Charles Leclerc had extended his Ferrari deal, which had been set to expire at the end of the 2024 season, seriously when they emerged during the second half of 2023.

Leclerc, of course, ended up replacing Raikkonen after the 2018 season, disproving the previous rumors, and he has been with the Scuderia ever since.

Now, however, it is official: the 26-year-old Monegasque driver has signed a contract extension with the Italian team. The exact terms have not been disclosed, but Leclerc stated that he is set to remain with Ferrari for "several more seasons".

Charles Leclerc won't partner Max Verstappen at Red Bull

As a result, Leclerc is now off the table for Red Bull in 2025, should they decide to replace Sergio Perez when his contract expires at the end of the 2024 season.

The five-time Grand Prix winner was always seen as somewhat of a longshot to sign with Red Bull, even amid what were believed to be growing frustrations with Ferrari's continuous struggles and consistent failures to live up to expectations, but there was a belief that Red Bull would be eyeing the creation of somewhat of a "dream team" upon letting go of Perez.

They already have Verstappen, a three-time reigning world champion and the third winningest driver of all-time, under contract through 2028, and he is coming off of a record-breaking 19-win season in 2023. In fact, his 34 wins over the last two years would even be a record for any three-year stretch in Formula 1 history.

The two names most often floated as potential Verstappen "dream team" teammates were Leclerc and Lando Norris. Norris had already been under contract with McLaren through 2025, though there was some unproven speculation that he could be able to get out a year early depending on the Woking-based team's performance.

But now Leclerc is officially off the table in those discussions. Could teammate Carlos Sainz Jr., who remains under contract with Ferrari only through the end of the 2024 season, end up reuniting with his former Toro Rosso teammate at Red Bull from 2025 after being the driver to spoil the Milton Keynes-based team's perfect 2023 season in Singapore?

Next. Formula 1: The worrying situation that Red Bull may face in 2025. Formula 1: The worrying situation that Red Bull may face in 2025. dark

A move to Audi has also been discussed, so Sainz should certainly become a silly season focal point with Leclerc having now put pen to paper and re-signed with the Prancing Horse.