The decision ensures Charles Leclerc will be with Ferrari when the sport enters a new era in 2021, with Sebastian Vettel's future far from certain
Ferrari put their long-term faith in Charles Leclerc Monday by extending the 22-year-old's contract for five more years until the end of 2024.
The Monaco-born Formula One driver won two of the 21 grands prix in 2019, making him the Italian team's youngest winner, while his seven pole positions were more than anyone else managed.
He also ended the campaign fourth overall and above his 32-year-old team mate Sebastian Vettel, a four time world champion whose contract expires at the end of 2020, in the drivers' standing.
The decision ensures Leclerc will be with Ferrari when the sport enters a new era in 2021, with Vettel's future far from certain.
It also means the youngster could be an eventual team mate to six-time world champion Lewis Hamilton, the subject of plenty of speculation about his plans after Mercedes.
2 Wins 🏆— Scuderia Ferrari (@ScuderiaFerrari) December 23, 2019
4 Fastest laps 💨
7 Poles 🙌
10 Podiums 🍾
...and a contract extension to 2️⃣0️⃣2️⃣4️⃣ ✍️
We’re delighted to announce that @Charles_Leclerc will be with us until 2024 🤩#essereFerrari 🔴 #Charles2024 pic.twitter.com/Gv8BAfrFAh
The Briton's contract expires at the end of next year and Ferrari have confirmed meetings with chairman John Elkann.
Team principal Mattia Binotto indicated the decision to commit to Leclerc, who made his F1 debut with Sauber (now Alfa Romeo) in 2018 before replacing Kimi Raikkonen at Maranello, had been easy.
Ferrari finished runners-up to Mercedes this year, despite starting as favorite.
Leclerc's performance, with back-to-back wins in Belgium and Italy, provided optimism even if his speed also triggered incidents with Vettel, who started the year as Ferrari's main man but felt uncomfortable in the car and made plenty of mistakes.
The pair collided in Brazil, a low point for Ferrari.
Binotto said at the same lunch in Maranello that Leclerc had learnt a lot from Vettel.