The trend of multi-year contracts in F1, highlighted by Leclerc and Norris’s extensions, raises questions about the sport’s future and team strategies.
According to Corriere dello Sport, multi-year agreements have become a bad habit that has taken root in Formula 1 after both Charles Leclerc and Lando Norris extended their contracts for several years with their current teams. However, the Italian media understands why McLaren chose to secure Lando Norris for an even longer period, ensuring that no other team can steal ‘their treasure’.
Over the past week, Ferrari and McLaren announced that they will keep Norris and Leclerc as their drivers for some time. The exact duration of the contract extensions is unclear. According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, Leclerc appears to even have a contract until 2029.
Rising Trend: F1’s Multi-Year Deals
Multi-year agreements are almost becoming a trend. “Whoever has a treasure, holds onto that treasure tightly,” begins Corriere dello Sport. “Therefore, McLaren, just like Red Bull with Verstappen and Ferrari with Leclerc, has also secured its champion: Norris’s contract, which expires at the end of 2025, has also been extended with a multi-year deal, following the bad habit that, contrary to transparency, has taken root in Formula 1,” the Italian media judges.
While multi-year extensions are being handed out left and right, Verstappen still seems to be the pioneer of this trend, extending his contract with Red Bull until 2028 after his first world title and thereby signing a mega deal.
“At this point, the boy will at least stay with McLaren until the end of 2027, but it takes little imagination to realize that CEO Zak Brown and team principal Andrea Stella wanted to prevent this rough diamond from escaping,” continues Corriere dello Sport. “Zero victories but seven second places (six of them last season) had attracted the attention of Red Bull, with Pérez in uncertainty and the junior program no longer producing, but Audi and Ferrari were also quite interested.”
“The Pavlovian response from Piastri gave Lando the power to set an ultimatum.”
At the end of the 2023 season, McLaren first announced the extension of Oscar Piastri’s contract. The Australian was signed until 2026, thus committing for an additional two seasons. With the regulations set to change again in 2026, some drivers might want to keep their options open. Whether Norris has an exit clause in his contract is not known.
Norris and Piastri: McLaren’s Future
“Then there’s the Pavlovian response that involves the teammate: confirm Leclerc and you think of Sainz, just as with Verstappen and Pérez; thus, it’s inevitable to talk about Oscar Piastri,” reports Corriere dello Sport.
“McLaren had recently secured Piastri until 2026, and that gave Lando the strength to issue an ultimatum: confirm me or I feel free to go elsewhere. Said and done. Intriguing are the developments in the internal battle between the talents of Woking: both are aiming for a major step forward, Norris for his first victory to convince himself he can do it, Piastri to show his true potential after his debut year.” So far, a victory has indeed eluded Norris. Perhaps 2024 will be the year he gets to taste the champagne of victory for the first time.
Multi-Year F1 Contracts How Teams Secure Their Treasure. Multi-Year F1 Contracts How Teams Secure Their Treasure
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