Charles Leclerc has extended his Ferrari contract until the end of the 2024 season in the first big move of F1’s long-term transfer market.
The 22-year-old was already understood to be on a deal that ran beyond 2020, but the new agreement is likely to include improved terms in the wake of Leclerc’s successful first season at Maranello.
“I am very happy to be staying on with Scuderia Ferrari,” said Leclerc. “This past season, driving for the most illustrious team in Formula 1 has been a dream year for me.
“I cannot wait to enjoy an even deeper relationship with the team after what has been an intense and exciting 2019. I’m keen to see what the future holds and I can’t wait to get going again next season.”
Leclerc has been associated with Ferrari since 2016, when he joined their driver academy, with the Monegasque stepping up to their F1 squad at the start of this year after an eye-catching rookie campaign at Sauber.
The extended deal will shine further focus on the future of current team-mate Sebastian Vettel, whose deal expires in 12 months’ time.
Lewis Hamilton has been linked to the German’s seat should he decide to leave Mercedes when his own deal expires at the end of next season.
For Leclerc, the new deal caps a hugely-impressive 2019 when he claimed seven poles, two race wins and outscored Vettel in the standings.
“With each passing race this year, our wish to extend our contract with Charles became ever more self-evident and the decision means he will now be with us for the next five seasons,” said team boss Mattia Binotto.
“It demonstrates that Charles and the Scuderia have a firm future together.
“Charles has been part of our family since 2016 and we are more than proud of the results we are achieving with our Academy.
“We are therefore very pleased to be able to announce that he will be with us for many years to come and I’m sure that together, we will write many new pages in the history of the Prancing Horse.”