Formula 1 pundit Lawrence Barretto has claimed that Charles Leclerc's deal with Ferrari has a clause in it which allows the two parties to split after the 2026 season.
The 26-year-old confirmed this week that he has signed a new contract with the Scuderia, but official statements were sketchy on the specifics, simply calling it a multi-year deal.
Barretto has now reported that Leclerc will have a chance to assess the team's first effort in producing a car to suit the sweeping regulation changes being introduced in 2026, before deciding if he believes he can challenge for a drivers' title in that machinery.
Simultaneously, it will allow for Ferrari to judge Leclerc more fairly based on whether they can produce a better car, with the Monegasque's immense talent clear to see, but a poor qualifying-to-race record holding him back from the likes of Max Verstappen.
Details of Leclerc's new Ferrari contract
This is a thought reiterated by Barretto, who believes that the flexible contract works best for both sides in the event of a failed future.
“A less rigid deal this time around makes sense for both sides," he told F1.com.
"The new arrangement will take Leclerc through the final year of the current regulations set in 2025 and into the following campaign with new power units – which must run 100% sustainable fuel – and revised aerodynamic rules.
“That’ll give Ferrari a chance to prove they can deliver Leclerc machinery with which he can fight for the world title when they debut their 2026 car – and it’ll give Leclerc time to assess whether that machinery is good enough or at the very least has the potential to be competitive in the next rules cycle.”
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