Charles Leclerc is a “man on the move”. Now if that isn’t an understatement, I don’t know what is. You see, this talented young man has opened the eyes of quite a few people in the world of Formula One. And after only one year in F1, spent at Alfa Romeo Sauber F1, he’s moving to what some see as a double sided sword, at Scuderia Ferrari next year, replacing a veteran, once world champion, Kimi Raikkonen. Having a driver this young at Ferrari hasn’t happened since 1961 and it’ll be interesting to see how he and Vettel will feed off each other.
Earlier in the year, during the Canadian Grand Prix, we sat down with Charles to have a little chat, one on one. I must say that I was quite impressed by this young man’s demeanour; cordial and frank but also very determined. The conversation was actually carried out in Italian, a language that Charles speaks fluently.
When speaking about the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve, Charles admits, “I often played this circuit on my Playstation when I was younger. It’s similar to Monaco in the sense that it’s all about finding your rhythm, the walls are close, and there are some high kerbs. It’s not an easy track.”
He adds, “Here you have to be careful with the kerbs because we take them at high speed and they can upset the balance of the car.”
Charles has been racing for practically all his life. His dad used to be a driver as well and this is but another example of a father transmitting his passion to his son. “Having my dad as a driver, I’ve always been in the motorsport atmosphere and from when I first tried a kart at 3 ½ years old; I fell in love with racing. I always had Jules Bianchi alongside me with whom I raced a lot together.”
Jules was actually coaching young Charles when he first started karting.
When asked about being at Alfa Romeo Sauber F1, Charles very proudly replies,
“There is a big sense of pride to be representing such a legendary make as Alfa Romeo. I could not have asked to start in a better team. And to be in an Italian team is also very pleasing because I’ve always had great rapports with Italy, being so close and having raced there so often.”
Charles Leclerc is part of the new, young blood that will replace many of the older drivers. These young men are from their own generation with their own experiences and values, as well as certain lifestyles specific to their age.
I asked Charles if he had a particular car that he would like to have, as a dream car? Charles replied, “Yes, two actually; the 8C that I’ve always really liked and the La Ferrari, for which there are no other supercars like it.”
What about driving music? What does Charles Leclerc listen to when he drives?
“I like many types of music except very hard rock and classical. I enjoy Coldplay, The Quinns.”
One question that I like to ask is about food. If the earth were to stop turning tomorrow morning, what would be your last meal? To which Charles grins and does not even hesitate one second and says “pasta with a good tomato sauce” (pasta al pomodoro in Italian). He just loves his pasta!
If Charles was not a professional racer what would he be doing? “I’ve always liked fashion and even wanted to go into architecture when I was younger, even car designer.”
There’s no doubt that Charles Leclerc, has refined taste and is sensitive to the beautiful things in life. He’s also fast and moving in the right direction.