Charles Leclerc (born 16 October 1997) is a Monegasque racing driver.
Profile Bio Text
Charles Leclerc (French pronunciation: [ʃaʁl ləklɛʁ]; born 16 October 1997) is a Monégasque racing driver, currently driving for Sauber in the 2018 FIA Formula One World Championship. A member of the Ferrari Driver Academy, he won the GP3 Series championship in 2016 and the FIA Formula 2 Championship in 2017.
As a child, Leclerc was a friend of Jules Bianchi, who won his first racing championship when Leclerc was 10-years-old. Leclerc began karting at the track managed by Bianchi's father in Brignoles. Like Bianchi, Leclerc joined the ARM management company headed by Nicolas Todt.
Leclerc has two brothers, Lorenzo and Arthur. His father, Hervé, also raced cars, driving in Formula 3 in the 1980s and 1990s, and was well respected in karting. He died after a long illness, aged 54, just four days before his son won the feature race at the 2017 Formula 2 Baku weekend.
Born in Monaco, Leclerc began his karting career in 2005, winning the French PACA Championship in 2005, 2006 and 2008. In 2009 he became French Cadet champion before moving up to the KF3 class in 2010, where he won the Junior Monaco Kart Cup. He continued in the KF3 class for 2011, winning the CIK-FIA KF3 World Cup, the CIK-FIA Karting Academy Trophy and the ERDF Junior Kart Masters. During the year, Leclerc also became a member of Nicolas Todt's All Road Management company.
Leclerc graduated to the KF2 category in 2012 with the factory-backed ART Grand Prix team, winning the WSK Euro Series title, as well as finishing runner-up in the CIK-FIA European KF2 Championship and the CIK-FIA Under 18 World Karting Championship.
In his final year of karting in 2013, Leclerc claimed sixth position in the CIK-FIA European KZ Championship and finished second in the CIK-FIA World KZ Championship, behind current Red Bull Formula One driver Max Verstappen.
Formula Renault 2.0
In 2014, Leclerc graduated to single-seaters, racing in the Formula Renault 2.0 Alps championship for British team Fortec Motorsports. During the season, he took seven podium positions, including a double victory at Monza, to finish runner-up in the championship behind Koiranen GP's Nyck de Vries. Leclerc also won the Junior Championship title at the final race of the season in Jerez, finishing ahead of Russian teenager Matevos Isaakyan.
Leclerc also took part in a partial Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 season with Fortec as a guest driver. In the six races he contested he finished on the podium three times, taking a second place at the Nürburgring followed by a pair of second-place finishes at the Hungaroring.
Leclerc graduated to Formula Three in 2015, racing in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship with Dutch team Van Amersfoort Racing. At the opening round of the season in Silverstone, Leclerc inherited Pole position for the second and third races of the weekend after original pole-sitter Felix Rosenqvist was excluded for a technical infringement. He went on to take his first race victory in the third race of the weekend, ahead of Antonio Giovinazzi and Jake Dennis. He took his second victory at the following round in Hockenheim, winning the third race as well as taking two additional podiums and three rookie victories over the course of the event. Leclerc scored his third win in the first race at Spa-Francorchamps which saw him take the lead in the championship. However, Leclerc finished fourth in the standings, mostly due to damage sustained to his car's chassis following a collision with Lance Stroll at Zandvoort.
In November 2015, Leclerc finished second at the Macau Grand Prix.
In December 2015, Leclerc partook in post-season testing with ART Grand Prix and Arden International. In February 2016, de Vries confirmed that Leclerc would race in the 2016 season. ART signed Leclerc the following week. With the team, he claimed three victories and took the title in Abu Dhabi, despite crashing out in the feature race.
FIA Formula 2 Championship
The week following his victory in the GP3 title race, Leclerc was confirmed to be graduating to the series for the 2017 season with Prema Racing, alongside fellow GP3 racer and Ferrari junior Antonio Fuoco.
He made his debut at Bahrain, where he took pole position for the feature race, but only finished third. In the sprint race, his Prema team chose to take a mid-race pit stop, which is very uncommon in the shorter sprint races. He pushed harder on his medium Pirelli tyres, creating a 9-second lead, before pitting. This would drop him down to 14th place, but Leclerc overtook 13 cars and took victory by overtaking Luca Ghiotto on the final lap. After taking pole position for the second time in a row, he then fought off Ghiotto to win again in the Catalunya feature race, despite a radio issue.
Leclerc did not score any points at his home round at the Monaco. He was on pole, but retired from the lead of the race with a suspension problem. The retirement also meant he would start the sprint race from the back of the grid, and in this race he collided with Norman Nato whilst trying to make his way up the grid, which ultimately resulted in both drivers retiring from the race. He retained the championship lead despite the bad weekend, which he described as 'hugely disappointing'.
Leclerc took a fourth consecutive pole at a race Azerbaijan, which he dedicated to his late father, Herve. He converted this into another win, although the race was red flagged five laps before the scheduled end. In the sprint race, he started from eighth, and dropped to tenth early on, but fought back to sixth. The retirement of the race leader, his title rival Oliver Rowland, and De Vries, who was also ahead of Leclerc, meant Leclerc improved to fourth. He then passed Nicholas Latifi and Jordan King, and began to close on the new leader, Nato. He passed Nato, but had been given a 10-second penalty for failing to slow for yellow flags, and therefore finished second.
In Austria he took his fifth pole position, and then won the feature race from pole despite coming under pressure from teammate Fuoco, and towards the end, the DAMS of Latifi. He would retire from the sprint race after colliding with Fuoco and spinning out. By taking pole for the sixth time for the next race, at Silverstone, he matched the record for most pole positions in a row, which was set by Stoffel Vandoorne in 2014 and 2015, when the series were called GP2 Series. He won the feature race, even after his car set alight during the race, and even after one of his wing mirrors detached in the closing stages.
He would not start from pole in Hungary, despite taking his seventh successive pole position, as he was disqualified for a technical infringement. Despite starting from the back, he was in 12th position by turn 1. Using an alternative tyre strategy that saw him start on the medium tyres, Leclerc was stuck behind Alexander Albon, who was on the same strategy, although he eventually got past and would finish fourth. He would also finish fourth in the sprint race the next day, giving him a 50-point championship lead over Rowland.
For the Belgian rounds, Leclerc again took pole and won the race by a convincing margin of over 20 seconds, however his win was disqualified as one of his skidblocks was excessively worn. Having to start in 19th place, Leclerc managed to go back up to 5th place and finish 3.8 seconds behind the race winner, Sérgio Sette Câmara.
For the Italian feature race, Leclerc was battling for the lead however on the final lap, he was involved in an accident with De Vries. After starting towards the back of the grid for the second consecutive sprint race, Leclerc managed to fight his way back to 9th position, albeit out of the points.
With a 57-point margin over Rowland heading into the penultimate rounds at Jerez, Leclerc gained his 8th pole position of the season, with both of his timed laps being good enough for pole position. In the feature race, Leclerc dominated most of the early stint on soft tyres and was able to overtake most of the runners on the alternate strategy. With 7 laps to go however, Nobuharu Matsushita collided with Santino Ferrucci, which brought out the safety car. At the point that the race resumed, Leclerc was misinformed over team radio that it was the "last lap" even though there were four laps to go, so after pushing hard to build a gap Leclerc's tyres were "overheated badly" with several laps still to run, yet despite his tyres being "completely gone" by the end Leclerc managed to hold off a charging Rowland by 0.23 seconds, and claim the FIA Formula 2 championship in his rookie season in the main F1 feeder series.
In claiming the championship, Leclerc became the youngest ever champion of the main support series for Formula 1 at 19 years 356 days old, and the first driver since Nico Hülkenberg in 2009 to win the championship in their rookie season (a feat which only Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton have previously accomplished) and is the only driver to claim a championship with the Dallara GP2/11 chassis in their rookie season.
For the sprint race, Leclerc started in 8th place, however due to his car's aggressive setup, he and his teammate, Antonio Fuoco, had to pit in the sprint race. Due to the aggressive pace of Leclerc however, he rose up through the field, yet because of the excessive wear on his tyres, he conceded 3 positions on the final lap and finished in 7th position.
For the final rounds at Abu Dhabi, Leclerc qualified in 6th place for the Feature race, his lowest starting position all season barring penalties. Despite this however, he managed to finish the highest of the alternate strategy runners in Abu Dhabi (Soft then Super Soft) in 4th place (he had made it up till 3rd until the final corner of the final lap where he was pipped by Antonio Fuoco). This position however was subsequently changed to second after the race winner, Oliver Rowland, and Fuoco were disqualified for excessive floor wear and under-inflated front tyres respectively.
For Leclerc's final race, he started in 7th position. He was initially able to make up 2 places but was running slower than the race leaders Alexander Albon and Nicholas Latifi. As the race progressed however, Leclerc started gaining time compared to his rivals and managed to take Latifi with a few laps to go. For the final three laps, DRS was disabled and yellow flags in the final sector meant that Leclerc was stuck behind Albon, however on the final lap, both drivers tangled, triggered by Leclerc nudging Albon, and both had a drag race which they constant were pushing each other until Leclerc finally took the lead and won by 1.293 seconds his final victory in his last ever F2 race.
In March 2016, it was announced that Leclerc would be one of two drivers inducted into the Ferrari Driver Academy and would act as development driver for Haas F1 Team and Scuderia Ferrari. As part of his role as development driver, Leclerc participated in the first practice session of the 2016 British Grand Prix driving for Haas. It was believed that if Leclerc wins the GP3 Series championship, he would follow Daniil Kvyat and Valtteri Bottas straight from GP3 into F1 with Haas. However this was debunked by Haas team principal Guenther Steiner who said that Leclerc would progress to the 2017 FIA Formula 2 Championship.
He took part in the mid-season Hungaroring test following the Hungarian Grand Prix, driving the Ferrari SF70H. He was fastest on the first day of the test, running 98 laps in the process, but did not take part in the second day's test. In December 2017, it was announced that Leclerc will make his racing debut in Formula One, signing with the newly rebranded Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team as regular driver for 2018, thus marking the first appearance of a Monégasque Formula One driver since Olivier Beretta in 1994.[N 1]
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Wiki Bio Text
Charles Leclerc is a Monégasque racing driver, currently driving for Sauber in the 2018 FIA Formula One World Championship. A member of the Ferrari Driver Academy, he won the GP3 Series championship in 2016 and the FIA Formula 2 Championship in 2017.
Full Name at Birth
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