[F1 2018 VIDEO FEATURE] CHARLES LECLERC: THE REAL DEAL?

Highly rated F1 rookie Charles Leclerc is yet to deliver on his considerable hype at Sauber – the 20-year-old outqualifying teammate Marcus Ericsson for the first time in China, but suffering a clumsy spin at Turn 1 in the race.

The Monégasque is the real deal, though, starting with support from Ferrari, as part of the Prancing Horse’s Driver Academy.

On his way to F1, Leclerc monstered the junior categories – shown here in 2015 challenging for the lead at Monza in European F3.

Leclerc finished fourth overall in F3, before winning the GP3 and F2 titles in successive years. His seven victories in a single F2 campaign a strong statement to others of his abilities.

He also dovetailed his successful F2 campaign last year with eight Friday practice sessions to acclimatise to F1, shared equally between Haas and Sauber – both of them Ferrari customer teams.

… before joining Sauber’s lineup as a race driver for this year.

SOUNDBITE (English) FRÉDÉRIC VASSEUR,
TEAM PRINCIPAL, SAUBER:
“It’s a good mix between Marcus Ericsson, who has huge experience in F1, and in the other end - that we’ll have Charles Leclerc. A rookie, and very successful in the junior series.”

And the Monégasque is already comfortable at the Swiss team, having had free practice runs in the C36 in Malaysia, the USA, Mexico and Brazil.

SOUNDBITE (English) CHARLES LECLERC,
F1 DRIVER, SAUBER:
“The team has welcomed me very, very well. I get to know all of the people - and we are working hard to prepare this season.”

And while Leclerc is already being named as a potential replacement for Kimi Räikkönen in the works Ferrari, he’s taking his journey step by step.

SOUNDBITE (English) CHARLES LECLERC,
F1 DRIVER, SAUBER:
“Driving these type of cars feels always amazing. A lot more speed compared to the junior series, a lot more aerodynamics - and a lot more people also involved in the performance of the cars.”

Leclerc has not matched Giancarlo Baghetti, Nino Farina or Johnnie Parsons – who all won their first World Championship Grands Prix.

But his potential is huge. And if he can get even closer to Ericsson, and start beating him consistently, the sky’s the limit.