Leclerc: New Ferrari deal brings confidence to our 'long-term project'

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Charles Leclerc says Ferrari extending his contract until the end of 2024 gives him confidence as they embark on a "long-term project".

The new deal was understood to be an additional two years to the Monegasque's original contract which he signed to join the Scuderia from last season.

It was also seen as the Italian team committing to Leclerc as their lead driver heading into the next generation of Formula 1, but while his place might be very secure, the 22-year-old isn't resting.

“Obviously it’s great to be knowing that I’ll be driving for Ferrari for five more years. This is great, obviously it gives me confidence," he said via RaceFans.

“But this doesn’t mean the races don’t count so we’ll have to be working very hard.

"I don’t think it gives us any certainty on the results but one thing is for sure is that it’s a long term project and I think it’s interesting for both myself and the team to be working in such a long contract and to build a strong relationship which hopefully will bring many successes.”

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2020 is also set to be an interesting year for Leclerc as his influence at Ferrari grows, but he insists any changes to this year's car are with him and teammate Sebastian Vettel in mind.

“It’s been a very long time since the last time I was two years in a row in the same team,” the 22-year-old admitted.

“I’ve made it clear what I want from the car, but the job of the team and the goal of everyone is the same in the end: to try to do the most solid car with the most flexibility in terms of set-up to help in both directions because it’s not the same issue that we have in every track.

"We need to be adapting the car to every track and this is a goal for both drivers, then when they are small balance issues which can happen then it’s up to us to adapt to the car too.”

As for his own personal performance, Leclerc is also focusing on several areas he feels held him back in 2019.

“I think there were a few mistakes last year,” he said. “Probably the biggest one, like in Baku to crash in Q2, was just very unnecessary and I think I’ve learned the lesson.

“Overall during the year I think I’ve learned many smaller lessons, probably, but very useful ones on the strategy and the races.

"It’s quite a lot more complex in Formula 1 and on this, I’ve still got a lot of improvements to make and I’m working with the team on that, so I’m pretty sure there’s room for improvement everywhere.

“If I have to choose one thing at the moment it is probably on my side to try and have a better vision of the race. I’m pretty sure this will be useful for the future.”