Ferrari team principal Fred Vasseur admits he has missed targets when it comes to finalizing the Formula 1 futures of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz but expects to do so soon.

Both Leclerc and Sainz are out of contract at the end of next season, as two of the biggest names among 75% of the grid that have deals expiring in a year’s time. Vasseur had wanted to make a decision on the Ferrari drivers’ respective futures by the end of 2023 but he says there is no cause for concern that the timeline has been pushed back beyond the New Year.

“As you know, they are under contract with us until the end of 2024 — it means that we still have 13 months in front of us,” Vasseur said. “It’s quite comfortable and if you have a look, Mercedes renewed the contract by the end of August and that meant that we still have a lot of weeks and months in front of us.

“But I told you, I think one year ago, that we will try to take a decision by the end of the year. I have to admit the last part of the season was a big chaos for everybody and I think it was very demanding and we had meetings and started the discussion, but we are late compared to the initial plan.

“It’s not an issue at all — we are much in advance compared to Mercedes and we are easy on this that we will take the decision soon.”

Given a run of five races in six weeks that ended the season, Vasseur says the intense nature of the calendar played a part in driver performances over the course of the year. Expecting similar in 2024, the Frenchman explains he is wary of asking too much of Leclerc and Sainz during the off-season when they need to recharge.

“They had a lot of involvement into the development of the car from the beginning. And they are quite pleased with the situation,” Vasseur said. “Now it’s not at all a clear indication of what we will do next year but it’s important to have them on board from the beginning.

“I think they were both quite exhausted after the season; it was a long one for everybody but it’s also a long one for them. After Abu Dhabi they had the test and then we had a demo in Saudi, so it w as a never-ending story. They came back the week after and they were in the simulator. They will have a break for the next two or three weeks and be back on the 9th or 10th of January.

“It’s good also for them to manage their time and it will be even worse or more difficult next year. With more races — starting a bit earlier, finishing a bit later — I think during the season every single driver was a bit up and down. We have to anticipate this and to do a good job on this because I think it will be part of the performance, and I think they completely deserve the Christmas break.”