'Leclerc gets new Ferrari contract and huge pay rise'
Charles Leclerc has been handed a new five-year contract and a significant pay rise by Ferrari, according to reports in Italy.
The Monegasque was already on a deal that was believed to run until 2022, but the long-term nature of Ferrari's latest commitment signals that Leclerc is the man to lead their championship hopes in years to come.
Corriere dello Sport reports that Leclerc's salary has tripled to €9million, closing the gap to Sebastian Vettel, although the four-time world champion remains on a deal worth much more per year.
Leclerc earned his new contract with a spectacular debut season in Scuderia scarlet.
The Monegasque took seven pole positions across the campaign, more than any other driver and added two race wins in Belgium and Italy, breaking Ferrari's nine-year drought at Monza in the process.
Leclerc finished ahead of Vettel in the drivers' championship, having wiped out the pre-season "priority" bestowed upon the German by team principal Mattia Binotto, becoming just the second team-mate to defeat Vettel across a full season.
The 22-year-old's extension also arrives amid suggestions that Lewis Hamilton could be his team-mate in 2021, with Mercedes' six-time world champion having met Ferrari president John Elkann in 2019.
Binotto has said that Ferrari want an "experienced" driver alongside Leclerc when F1 falls under new regulations in 2021. Both Vettel and Hamilton fit the bill, but it remains to be seen if the German can convince Ferrari that he remains at the peak of his powers.
Vettel may not have long to prove his worth, with Binotto saying that a decision will start to be made around next year's Spanish GP.
GPFans is a multi-platform, multi-language brand dedicated to Formula One coverage. We bring you all the ins and outs of the sport, 24/7, everything from up-to-the-minute news and features to the latest viral stories and clips.
We believe that a new generation of exciting, outspoken drivers will make F1 more popular than ever before, and we want to give our users access to as much of their heroes as possible, on and off the track. From Lewis Hamilton to Max Verstappen, Daniel Ricciardo to Sebastian Vettel, we provide in-depth analysis of every every Grand Prix in the season, from Australia to Abu Dhabi.
With Formula One under the new ownership of Liberty Media, how the sport is being covered is evolving, and GPFans will look to be at the heart of this progression into new media, as one of the fastest-growing sites covering the king of motorsports.