On the horizon: Charles Leclerc

By on

Despite being only a young teenager, Charles has already proved that he has his mojo to be successful. In fact, he is doomed to succeed. His determination, charming appearance and his breath-taking speed are ingredients which guarantee bright future.

F1technical’s Balazs Szabo asked the man himself what he thinks of the season lying ahead, the early part of his career and himself as a racer.

Charles was born in 1997 in Monte Carlo. He only turned six when he started his racing career in the karting world. He won the French PACA Championship in his debut year, which he repeated in 2006 and 2008. In the following year he moved up to the French cadet category which he won as the youngest of the history. In 2010 and 2011 he moved up to the KF3 category. He won the Monaco Kart Cup, which he topped in the following year by becoming the CIK-FIA Trophee Academy Champion and the CIK-FIA World Cup Champion.

In 2012 he competed in the KF2 category and became the WSK Euro Series Champion. In 2013 he moved up to the top step of that ladder by competing in the KF1 where he became the Winter Cup Winner and the CIK- FIA World Cup Vice-Champion.

In 2014 he started his career in the world of single-seaters. He competed in the Formula Renault 2.0 Alp where he was only beaten by the much more experienced Nick de Vries. He stormed onto the rostrum seven times out of 14 races and triumphed in both races in Monza in an unforgiving manner.

Last year he also started in six races in the Formula Renault 2.0 and he conquered the second place three times out of those six appearances.

Question: “In which category are you going to compete this year?”
Charles: „I'll do the European Championship of F3.”

Question: “What has been your feeling like so far during the test sessions?”
Charles: „It is hard to compare to the other drivers in testing, because we don't know how much they push. But the team and I focused on our own job, and we tested loads of things which will help us during the season, so I would say it is a good start!”

Question: “How would you describe yourself? A mature racer or a young teen?”
Charles: „I would say a mature driver.”

Question: “You stepped into single-seaters after 2013. How big of a jump was it to sit in a proper racing machinery?”
Charles: ”Obviously karting and single seater are a lot different, it was a bit hard at the beginning, but I got used to it quite quickly.”

Question: “How can you split your time between your racing commitment and school?”
Charles: „It is really hard, but my parents and I took the decision to do school at home so I can arrange myself when I haven't got any races to work for school.”

Question: “What motivates you to climb into a racing car? Speed? Fighting spirit?”
Charles:” The speed, the rivality between the drivers and the feeling itself.”

Question: “What has been the highlight and the lowest point of you career so far?”
Charles: „My highlights, I would say that it is last year's season because it was a good season for my first year in single seater ! But I had great years since I won the 2011 World Cup in Karting in general. The lowest point would be 2010 in karting.”

Question: “How can you prepare yourself mentally for the races? Do you try to find a silent place in the team's truck where you can relax?”
Charles: „Not especially, I just try to stay as calm as possible.”

Question: “What types of tracks do you enjoy the most? Circuits dominated by fast turns or by slow hairpins? Why?”
Charles: „Well, I love the tracks with slow and fast corners ! I like it when all type of corners are in a track, that's what makes a track interesting!”

Question: “Can you learn the tracks you visit beforehand? Have you got any chance to work in a simulator?”
Charles: „Yes, Van Amersfoort Racing (my team for this year) has got a simulator at their factory, so this is perfect, the three drivers will always go there for some days before the races to prepare as good as possible.”