- Charles Leclerc has categorically refused to rule out a move to any other team, with his Ferrari contract expiring in 2024
- Mercedes are the perceived frontrunner for his signature, with Lewis Hamilton approaching the end of his glorious career
- However, Hamilton has indicated that he intends to come back stronger next season after losing out yet again to Max Verstappen
A storm is brewing at the Ferrari camp, with reports emerging that main driver Charles Leclerc could be open to moving to Mercedes.
Leclerc finished in P2 behind Max Verstappen in the driver's championships, at the conclusion of the Formula 1 season recently.
His current contract with Ferrari runs until 2024, but the French driver has refused to rule out the possibility of joining other teams after a disappointing season.
Leclerc began the season in dominant fashion, but fell off the pace mainly due to Ferrari's poor strategy.
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This disappointment, coupled with a rumoured fallout with Ferrari's team principal Mattia Binotto, could see the 25-year-old look for new pastures, as the Mirror reports.
Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff has been categorical in the past that he won't shy away from poaching a top driver from a rival team to replace Lewis Hamilton.
Next season could be very vital in determining if Leclerc will stay at Ferrari beyond 2024.
Hamilton's replacement at Mercedes
Hamilton, a seven-time champion, is approaching the end of his career and Mercedes have seemingly started to look for his replacement.
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Even as Mercedes begin to think long-term, Hamilton has issued a defiant message after a disappointing season where they failed to win both the constructors and drivers championships.
The W-13 Silver Arrows were no match for the powerful Red Bull and Ferrari cars, with Hamilton failing to win a single race. The 37-year-old has promised he will be back stronger next season, indicating he intends to prolong his stay in Formula 1.
"I’m pretty sure I speak for all of us when I say I’m glad the season has come to an end. Won’t miss it!
Hamilton went on to thank his team for all the hard work throughout the year, adding that he believed they had learned enough to reach the top again in the next season.
"I have no doubt we’ll come back better. We’ll be back. I’ll be back."
Hamilton finished a disappointing sixth after he was forced to retire on the final day at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Leclerc beats Perez to P2
Sports Brief had earlier reported that Leclerc held off Sergio Perez to finish P2 in the 2022 Formula 1 season, after a resilient display at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi.
The two drivers were tied on 290 points each going into the final race of the season. Whoever came out on top was guaranteed P2 behind Max Verstappen, who had wrapped up the title weeks ago.
Verstappen won at Abu Dhabi to complete a dominant season that has seen him set a new record - 15 wins in a single season. Leclerc finished behind him to take his total tally for the season to 308, three more than Perez.
Source: Sports Brief News