Charles Leclerc1997-10-16 (age 25)
Charles Leclerc Biography
Born: 16/10/1997, Monaco
Few drivers reach Formula 1 on a wave of anticipation as sizable as Charles Leclerc’s but the Monegasque has consistently delivered on those high expectations.
Born in the heart of grand prix racing’s most iconic crown jewel of Monaco, Leclerc enjoyed the benefit of growing up immersed amid decades of F1 heritage within a family itself rich in motorsport heritage too.
Taking inspiration from his father Herve – once a prominent Formula 3 racer – while also living among many of F1’s elite that choose to reside in the Principality, Leclerc’s path towards the upper echelons of motorsport was all but assured.
Even so, Leclerc’s rapid ascent through the junior ranks spoke of talent exceeding his advantageous surroundings, quickly gaining attention with numerous karting titles before quickly making his mark upon progressing to open-wheel racing.
Catching the eye of F1-affiliated talent scouts with his race-winning run to fourth overall in the 2015 FIA Formula 3 European Championship – only his second campaign of single-seater competition – and finishing second in the prestigious Macau Grand Prix, Leclerc was swiftly inducted into the Ferrari Driver Academy alongside his close friend and soon-to-be Marussia F1 driver, Jules Bianchi.
Going on to take Grand Prix paddock by storm with consecutive GP3 Series and Formula 2 titles with ART Grand Prix and Prema Racing respectively under the noses of F1 bosses, it was Leclerc’s refined racecraft and maturity that earned him widespread acclaim.
This was no better demonstrated than during his title-winning F2 campaign, first on his debut in Bahrain when – after making an unusual pit-stop for fresh tyres during the sprint race – he surged through from 14th to take victory, then again in Baku when he achieved a rare double success just days after the death of his father.
This dominant F2 title win smoothed his path towards an F1 debut with Alfa Romeo in 2018, and onto Ferrari just one year later.
2022 - Scuderia Ferrari
2nd - 308 points
After two tough seasons adrift of the lead fight, Ferrari’s decision to divert resources towards F1’s new technical regulation blueprint for 2022 earlier than Mercedes and Red Bull proved wise, with the lithe F1-75 emerging as a competitive package.
Giving Leclerc his most competitive package since 2019, he pounced directly into a fierce rivalry with Max Verstappen during the early rounds with gritty victories in Bahrain and Australia carving him an early advantage.
But Red Bull soon corrected its technical missteps, leaving Leclerc and Ferrari few answers in response to Verstappen once he hit his stride.
With the tide turning quickly once the season returned to Europe, Red Bull’s momentum coincided with a frustrating period for both Ferrari and Leclerc as a series of sloppy errors, tactical blunders and technical issues stymied their progress.
As such, the chance at the title quickly slipped from Ferrari’s grasp as the summer break loomed. Nevertheless, Leclerc – aided by a third win of the year in Austria – held onto a career-best runners-up spot in the overall standings.
2021 - Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow
7th - 159 points
With the technical freeze preventing Ferrari from making significant changes to its much maligned package, the hangovers of 2020 lingered on painfully into 2021 for Leclerc.
Unable to make a regular impression on the lead fight between Mercedes and Red Bull, Ferrari instead proved a more convincing candidate for ‘best of the rest’ status in a competitive field.
For Leclerc, however, he struggled for form in the SF21, limiting himself to just a single trip to the podium - a second place at the British Grand Prix - to leave him comfortably adrift of new team-mate Carlos Sainz by the conclusion of the season.
2020 - Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow
8th - 98 points
Coming into the season with sights set firmly on toppling Vettel as the team’s defined number one driver, Leclerc was forced to put his personal goals on ice amid a slump in form for Ferrari.
Already on the back foot after the FIA forced it to make changes to its engine due to an undisclosed breach in regulation, Ferrari also went the wrong way with the design of its SF1000, leaving Leclerc in unfamiliar territory battling down the order for much of the season.
Two podiums in the opening four races boosted Leclerc’s fortunes early on, but thereafter he and Ferrari were mired in a heated – if humbling – tussle with Racing Point, Renault and McLaren for third in the constructors’ ranking.
Regardless, he comfortably had the measure of Vettel throughout the season, prompting the German to announce his exit and Leclerc to pen a new long-term deal that’d keep him at Ferrari until the end of 2024.
2019 - Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow
4th - 264 points
Keen to repel any rival bids to lure its prized protege from its grasp, Ferrari broke with tradition by signing Leclerc for only his second season in the sport, placing him alongside Sebastian Vettel.
Making him the youngest driver to hold a Ferrari F1 seat in 50 years, what Leclerc lacked in experience he made up for in vigour, quickly proving a match for Vettel in raw pace.
He very nearly claimed a sensational pole-to-flag win in Bahrain but for technical issues pegging him back to third and though Ferrari’s title aspirations fizzled out against the force of Mercedes, Leclerc held his own to quickly tally up a series of podium results.
With the youngster’s stock rising – amid a difficult patch of form for erstwhile team leader Vettel – Leclerc broke through with a hugely poignant maiden victory in the Belgian Grand Prix, held a day after close friend Anthoine Hubert lost his life in an accident during the supporting F2 race.
Emboldened by his success, Leclerc won again just a week later on Ferrari’s home soil at Monza. Cheered on by the devoted tifosi, Leclerc whipped fans into a frenzy en route to a famous victory with his boisterous defence of the lead from Lewis Hamilton.
On a day that saw Vettel – never a winner at Monza in Ferrari colours – endure an error-strewn race, Leclerc’s success raised tensions in the fight for Ferrari’s affections during the final rounds. This led to a handful of skirmishes between the two drivers – most notably a clash in Brazil that eliminated both drivers from the race – the inter-team fight for supremacy intensified when the team was forced to make changes to its car after it was found in breach of regulations.
Stuttering a strong run of form, which included a streak of five pole positions in six races, for Leclerc coming into the closing stages of the season, he nonetheless prevailed over Vettel to finish fourth in the final standings with ten podiums, including his two wins.
2018 - Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team
13th - 39 points
After being linked with Haas initially by virtue of its affiliation with Ferrari, Leclerc instead penned a deal with Sauber after it renewed and upgraded its partnership with the Scuderia to coincide with prominent new title backing from Italian manufacturer Alfa Romeo.
Becoming the first Monegasque in 24 years to start a grand prix, Leclerc struggled initially under the spotlight of expectation with a series of errors blighting his initial races.
However, his fortunes changed on the back of a headline-grabbing charge to sixth place in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix – Sauber’s best result since 2015 – which kick-started a run of five top ten results in six races.
Consolidating his potential with another strong run of results in the final rounds, Leclerc was promptly fast-tracked straight into a coveted Ferrari seat for his second season in F1.
Charles Leclerc's F1 Racing Record
|2018||Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team||13th|
|2019||Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow||4th|
|2020||Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow||8th|
|2021||Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow||7th|
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