Leclerc expects smooth Ferrari transition post-Binotto

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Leclerc expects smooth Ferrari transition post-Binotto
Ferrari's Charles Leclerc
Ferrari's Charles Leclerc
Reuters
Mattia Binotto's departure as Ferrari Formula One boss at the end of the month is unlikely to affect the team's performance on track next season, championship runner-up Charles Leclerc said on Friday.

Binotto announced his resignation in November, with the sport's oldest and most successful team yet to confirm a replacement.

The developments threaten upheaval at Maranello while champions Red Bull and third-placed Mercedes enjoy considerable stability -- with Red Bull boss Christian Horner facing the sixth Ferrari principal of his tenure at Milton Keynes.

"I've never had a team principal change during when I was racing for the same team," Leclerc, who debuted at Ferrari-powered Sauber in 2018, told reporters ahead of the governing FIA's prize-giving gala in Bologna.

"It will probably require a little bit of time for the (new) team principal to get at ease with the system and Ferrari, because it's obviously a huge team.

"But I believe that if it's done the right way I don't think we'll suffer any of it on the track. I'm pretty sure it will be a smooth transition."

The Monegasque said Binotto was still working to help the team prepare for next season.

A leading candidate to replace him is Frenchman Frederic Vasseur, boss of the Sauber team who currently compete as Alfa Romeo but will become Audi's factory outfit from 2026.

Leclerc drove in junior series for Vasseur, who co-founded ART Grand Prix with Leclerc's manager Nicolas Todt.

The Monegasque would not comment on who should replace Binotto and was confident company president John Elkann and Ferrari chief executive Benedetto Vigna would make the right call.

"Ferrari is a very different team to any other," said Leclerc when asked whether he felt Vasseur would be a good choice.

"I can only comment on my experience with Fred which obviously has been good. I've been working with Fred already from the junior categories where he has believed in me and we've always had a good relationship.

"Obviously this shouldn't influence any of the decisions.

"He has always been very straightforward, very honest and this is something that I liked from Fred. Whether it will be him or not, I don't know."

Leclerc said Binotto had called him before his announcement and he respected the decision.

"I can only thank him. He has believed in me right from the start, he extended me with a very, very long contract and before being team principal he was also inside the scuderia (team) for many, many years," he said.

"He has contributed to the success the team had in past years so I wish him the best and now it's up to us to focus on the future and try to take the right choices to be a bit more of a challenge to Red Bull next year."