Charles Leclerc will be a Ferrari driver for the next five years after signing a contract extension keeping him at the team until the end of the 2024 season.
Leclerc joined Ferrari as a race driver in 2019 but has been a member of the Ferrari Driver Academy since his championship-winning GP3 season in 2016. In his first year with Ferrari this season he secured two wins and seven pole positions while outscoring teammate Sebastian Vettel by 24 points in the drivers' championship.
That impressive performance has convinced Ferrari to extend his contract long before it was due to expire, and in a statement Ferrari team principal, Mattia Binotto, made clear that he saw Leclerc as the future of the team.
"With each passing race this year, our wish to extend our contract with Charles became ever more self-evident and the decision means he will now be with us for the next five seasons," Binotto said. "It demonstrates that Charles and the Scuderia have a firm future together.
"Charles has been part of our family since 2016 and we are more than proud of the results we are achieving with our Academy. We are therefore very pleased to be able to announce that he will be with us for many years to come and I'm sure that together, we will write many new pages in the history of the Prancing Horse."
Leclerc will continue to be partnered by Vettel in 2020, but the four-time world champion's contract is due to expire at the end of next season. Ferrari chairman John Elkann recently met with Lewis Hamilton, who is also out of contract at the end of 2020, but the team insists the talks were in a social environment and that it has not yet made a decision on whether it will replace Vettel in 2021.
Either way, Leclerc's contract, which will see him stay at the team until he is 27, is a significant commitment and makes him the driver with the longest-running contract in Formula One.
"I am very happy to be staying on with Scuderia Ferrari. This past season, driving for the most illustrious team in Formula One has been a dream year for me," Leclerc said.
"I cannot wait to enjoy an even deeper relationship with the team after what has been an intense and exciting 2019. I'm keen to see what the future holds and I can't wait to get going again next season."