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Charles Leclerc's new Ferrari contract sets stage for Lewis Hamilton's arrival

As the Formula 1 community anticipate the upcoming 2024 season, Charles Leclerc's recent contract extension with Ferrari has been explained.

The Monegasque driver, who has been associated with the Italian team since joining their driver academy in 2016, has committed to a multi-year deal, reportedly until the end of 2029.

Leclerc's decision to stay with Ferrari for such an extended period comes amidst a strategic reshuffling at the Scuderia. In a surprising turn of events, seven-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton is set to replace Carlos Sainz in 2025, marking a significant shift for both Mercedes and Ferrari.

The formidable pairing of Hamilton and Leclerc underscores Ferrari's ambition to break their championship drought. The team last secured the Constructors' Championship in 2008, with Kimi Raikkonen's 2007 Drivers' title being their most recent individual achievement.

For Leclerc, ending Ferrari's championship wait is a career goal intertwined with a deep connection to the team. Despite challenges and vocal expressions of discontent over the past two seasons, the 26-year-old remains steadfast in his commitment. His journey with Ferrari began with the opportunity to enter Formula 1 and eventually become a Ferrari driver, achieving milestones like his first pole position and victory.

In a recent statement to media, Leclerc shed light on the factors influencing his decision to extend his contract: "Of course, it's part of my decision because it feels like a family, but most of all, because they were the first people to believe in me straight from even before I got to Formula 1."

The pivotal element in Leclerc's decision lies in his belief in Ferrari's project and their pursuit of fielding the fastest car. "I believe in the project fully. I love Ferrari, that's for sure, and I think that's clear to everybody," he remarked. 

"But most of all, I believe in the project, and I believe we have the best chance to become the best car on the grid in the next years. So this is why I renewed with Ferrari."

As the Bahrain International Circuit prepares to host the official F1 pre-season testing from February 21-23, fans are buzzing with anticipation. The 2024 season promises excitement and intrigue as the Scuderia aim to reclaim their former glory on the Formula 1 grid.

Read More: Charles Leclerc: New SF-24 Ferrari feels 'healthier' (planetsport.com)

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