Charles Leclerc (sharl LE-clair; born 16 October 1997, Monte Carlo, Monaco) is a Monégasque professional racing driver, currently driving in the 2021 FIA Formula One World Championship for Ferrari, after competing for Sauber in 2018. A Ferrari Driver Academy member and reigning FIA Formula 2 Champion, Leclerc is one of the highest rated young drivers of the current era, who has previously tested for the Scuderia, Haas and 2018 employers Sauber.
Leclerc began karting at the age of eight, taking six junior category titles in five seasons in France and Monaco. Leclerc would go one to finish as runner up to Max Verstappen in the CIK-FIA World KZ Championship in 2013, his final year in go-karts. The Monégasque racer would also make a notable friendship with Jules Bianchi during his karting career.
The Single-Seater Sprinter
Leclerc would graduate to racing cars in 2014, entering the Formula Renault 2.0 Alps, ending the season as the Junior Champion and runner-up overall. His efforts landed him a spot in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship for 2015, taking three wins to finish fourth overall, behind Champion Lance Stroll. The Monégasque was then moved into the GP3 Series for 2016, taking his first major title in a racing car at the end of the season with three victories.
Leclerc's rapid ascent up the motorsport ladder continued into 2017, with the Monégasque racer joining fellow Ferrari Academy ace Antonio Fuoco in the FIA Formula 2 Championship. It would be a masterful display from the youngster throughout the season, as Leclerc dominated qualifying throughout the first half of the season, taking five wins before the summer break. A further two wins saw him end the season as Champion in his debut season in the series, putting him in prime position for a seat in Formula One.
Leclerc's performance in 2017 was made all the more remarkable given the death of his father Hervé, whom had guided his career through until his Formula 3 debut.
Formula One Career
Leclerc's first involvement with Formula One came in 2016, when the Monégasque racer was inducted into the Ferrari Driver Academy. He would make his F1 testing debut with Ferrari customer team Haas F1, taking part in FP1 at the 2016 British Grand Prix, with further FP1 sessions given to him later in the season. Rumours soon abounded that Leclerc would join Haas in 2017, although the American outfit declared that the Monegasque racer would have to compete in Formula 2.
Leclerc would indeed compete in F2 for 2017, although that would come alongside testing duties for Sauber. A single run-out in the full Ferrari car came at the 2017 Budapest Test, although Leclerc only completed one day of running. However, that would prove to be enough for Sauber to sign the Monegasque racer for 2018, as they strengthened ties with engine suppliers Ferrari.
Alfa Romeo rookie
Scuderia Ferrari pole position victor
In the Australian Grand Prix, Leclerc takes his first top five finish, having to both start and finish fifth. He also scored fastest laps during two of three practice sessions.
In the Bahrain Grand Prix, Leclerc was able to score a pole position during the qualifying session. He led majority laps, but was overtaken by Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas. It was due to the fact that his engine dropped a cylinder with a failed fuel injector. Leclerc finished third after Nico Hülkenberg and Daniel Ricciardo retired on lap 54, deploying a safety car at the end. He stopped Max Verstappen from overtaking, and was still able to score his first podium and fastest lap.
In the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Leclerc started eighth after penalties were given for Kimi and Antonio Giovinazzi. He was given an extra point for the fastest lap of the race. He quoted his qualifying crash "stupid".
Unfortunately, Leclerc retired at the Monaco Grand Prix, which is his hometown Grand Prix. This was his second time retiring in his own nation's Grand Prix. Leclerc was not able to set Bianchi's record once again.
At the Canadian Grand Prix, Leclerc started and finished third at the same time.
At the French Grand Prix, which is Bianchi's hometown, Leclerc finished third once again despite the controversial 1-2 finish of Hamilton and Vettel.
The Austrian Grand Prix saw Leclerc's second pole position. However, he finished second due to the collision with Verstappen.
However, in the German Grand Prix, Leclerc qualified tenth, but he did not finish the race, sliding off on a wet track and hitting the barrier, which resulted in his second DNF result.
In the Hungarian Grand Prix, Leclerc suffered a rear-end crash during qualifying, but still finished fourth.
The Belgian Grand Prix saw Leclerc's third pole position. On lap 19 of the race, he was given a standing ovation after the death of Anthoine Hubert, who crashed during the second lap of the FIA Formula 2 Belgian Grand Prix. He claimed his first FIA trophy after he finished first.
At the Italian Grand Prix, Leclerc scored his fourth pole position (second consecutive) and finished first once again.
Leclerc got another pole position (third consecutive), but finished second in the Singapore Grand Prix.
One race later in Russia, Leclerc earned his fourth consecutive pole position, but finished third afterwards.
In the Japanese Grand Prix, Leclerc issued a five-second time penalty for the Max Verstappen collision, which later resulted Verstappen's DNF. He also issued a ten-second post-race penalty for not going to box after issue. He was supposed to finish P6, but due to penalties, he finished P7. Later, it was reported that there was a disqualification on Daniel Ricciardo; Leclerc kept his P6 result.
Leclerc took his seventh pole position at the Mexican Grand Prix. However, he ended up finishing fourth in both the Mexican and United States Grands Prix. He also scored additional points for the fastest lap.
In the Brazilian Grand Prix, Leclerc qualified fourth, but was put in the seventh row due to a ten-place grid penalty for using a new machine during the United States Grand Prix. However, he and Vettel crashed out, which resulted their retirements (Verstappen won that race).
The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix saw Leclerc start third. He still finished third in the race, but finished fourth in the standings.
After the race, Ferrari was fined 50,000 euros for more fuel in the car. Neither Vettel or Leclerc were to blame about the situation.
Formula One Statistical Overview
Formula One Record
|2016–2018||Ferrari Driver Academy|
|2016||Haas F1 Team||Haas-Ferrari||Test Driver|
|2017||Scuderia Ferrari||Ferrari||Test Driver|
|Sauber F1 Team||Sauber-Ferrari|
|2018||Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team||Sauber-Ferrari||39||13th||Report|
|2019||Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow||Ferrari||264||4th||Report|
|2021||Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow||Ferrari||159||7th||Report|
Correct as of the 2022 Spanish Grand Prix
|Front Row Starts||16|
|Distance Raced||23063 km (14331 mi)|
|Distance Led||2624 km (1630 mi)|
|Win Number||Grand Prix|
|1||2019 Belgian Grand Prix|
|2||2019 Italian Grand Prix|
|3||2022 Bahrain Grand Prix|
|4||2022 Australian Grand Prix|
|Complete Formula One Results|
|3rd||DNQ||Did not qualify|
|5th||Points finish||DNPQ||Did not pre-qualify|
|14th||Non-points finish||TD||Test driver|
|Italics||Scored point(s) for Fastest Lap||DNS||Did not start|
|18th†||Classified finish (retired with >90% race distance)||NC||Non-classified finish (<90% race distance)|
|4thP||Qualified for pole position||[+] More Symbols|
Images and Videos:
- 'Leclerc to use number 16 in Formula 1', gpupdate.net, (SportUpdate B.V., 05/12/2017), https://www.gpupdate.net/en/f1-news/361624/leclerc-to-use-number-16-in-formula-1/, (Accessed 05/12/2017)
- 'Sauber confirm Leclerc & Ericsson, as Alfa Romeo livery revealed', formula1.com, (Formula One World Championship Ltd., 02/12/2017), https://www.formula1.com/en/latest/headlines/2017/12/sauber-confirm-leclerc---ericsson--as-alfa-romeo-livery-revealed.html, (Accessed 02/12/2017)
- 'LECLERC TAKES ROOKIE CHAMPIONSHIP TITLE', fotecmotorsports.com, (Fortec Motorsport, 08/10/2014), http://fortecmotorsports.com/leclerc-takes-rookie-championship-title/, (Accessed 02/12/2017)
- Marcus Simmons, (14 January 2015). 'Nicolas Todt protege Charles Leclerc secures F3 deal for 2015', autosport.com, (Haymarket Media, 14/01/2015), https://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/117356, (Accessed 02/12/2017)
- Peter Allen, 'Leclerc is GP3 champion despite collision as De Vries wins', formulascout.com, (Formula Scout, 26/11/2016), http://www.formulascout.com/leclerc-is-gp3-champion-despite-collision-as-de-vries-wins/35825, (Accessed 02/12/2017)
- Alex Kalinauckas, 'Jerez F2: Leclerc crowned champion after crazy finish', motorsport.com, (Motorsport Network, 07/10/2017), https://www.motorsport.com/fia-f2/news/jerez-f2-leclerc-crowned-champion-after-crazy-finish-962759/?s=1, (Accessed 02/12/2017)
- 'HERVÉ LECLERC PASSES AWAY', cikfia.com, (CIK-FIA, 21/06/2017), http://www.cikfia.com/newsroom/view/article/herve-leclerc-passes-away.html, (Accessed 02/12/2017)
- Valentin Khorounzhiy, 'Leclerc gets Ferrari and Haas development role', motorsport.com, (Motorsport Network, 01/03/2016), https://www.motorsport.com/f1/news/leclerc-gets-ferrari-and-haas-development-role-676625/?s=1, (Accessed 02/12/2017)
- 'Leclerc heads day one of Budapest test for Ferrari', (Formula One World Championship Ltd., 01/08/2017), https://www.formula1.com/en/latest/headlines/2017/8/leclerc-heads-day-one-of-budapest-test.html, (Accessed 02/12/2017)
- Race stopped after 2/44 Laps. Half points awarded
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