Method 1: Sauber
Sauber’s Charles Leclerc is poised to maneuver to Ferrari subsequent season.
The 20-year-old has agreed, however not signed, a two-year deal to be Sebastian Vettel’s team-mate till 2020, in line with a supply near Ferrari.
The transfer comes after a powerful begin to Leclerc’s F1 profession this yr with Sauber, together with factors finishes in 4 of the final 5 races.
If the deal is confirmed, it could imply the top of 2007 champion Kimi Raikkonen’s five-year keep at Ferrari.
The group mentioned it declined to touch upon what it described as “media hypothesis”.
Leclerc, who comes from Monaco and is a member of the Ferrari driver academy, is the reigning Method Two champion and was given his Sauber seat this yr with the intention of blooding him for a future at Ferrari.
The plan was to advertise Leclerc after one season so long as he delivered on his apparent potential, and he has completed precisely that.
After a shaky begin to the season with errors within the first three races, Leclerc took a step ahead on the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in April, the place he took the unfancied Sauber to sixth place.
Since then, he has completed 10th on the Spanish, Canadian and French Grands Prix, and demonstrated spectacular race-craft, together with holding off two-time champion Fernando Alonso’s McLaren for half the race in Barcelona.
Leclerc – the godson of former F1 driver Jules Bianchi, who died in 2015 from accidents sustained within the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix – told BBC Sport at last month’s Monaco Grand Prix: “It’s a dream since [I was] a baby to drive for the crimson vehicles so hopefully this may occur in the future.
“I’ll give every little thing for it to occur subsequent yr however the determination shouldn’t be in my palms and the one factor I can do is give the very best of myself on observe after which hopefully will probably be sufficient to contemplate me for the seat subsequent yr.”
Assuming the Leclerc deal is finalised, Raikkonen’s profession is in peril of being over.
There have been reviews this week linking the 38-year-old Finn with a transfer to McLaren, however their precedence is to maintain Fernando Alonso as their lead driver.
The Spaniard won Le Mans this yr and is two-thirds of the way in which in the direction of finishing his ambition of successful motorsport’s unofficial ‘triple crown’ of the Monaco Grand Prix, which Alonso has received twice, Le Mans and the Indianapolis 500.
Alonso is weighing up between two important choices: staying in F1 with McLaren however collaborating within the Indy 500; or shifting full time to Indycars in 2019.
On Thursday, the two-time champion mentioned: “To win the Indy 500 you’ve gotten just one likelihood every year. Even if you happen to do the entire championship, you’ve gotten just one race and 200 laps to do it.”
If Alonso chooses to depart F1, McLaren’s second possibility is Crimson Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo, though the Australian is tipped to remain the place he’s.