Charles Leclerc



Monte Carlo

Charles Leclerc

Although Ferrari is known for favouring experience over talent, that came to an end in 2018. Charles Leclerc impressed with his debut for Ferrari in 2019 and has signed on until the 2024 Formula One season. In 2022, the Monegasque proved yet again to be the man for the future at Ferrari by emerging as Max Verstappen's only serious competitor.

F1 Standings

1VERMax VerstappenRed Bull Racing44
2PERSergio PerezRed Bull Racing43
3ALOFernando AlonsoAston Martin F1 team30
4SAICarlos SainzFerrari20
5HAMLewis HamiltonMercedes AMG F1 team20
6RUSGeorge RussellMercedes AMG F1 team18
7STRLance StrollAston Martin F1 team8
8LECCharles LeclercFerrari6
9BOTValtteri BottasAlfa Romeo F1 team4
10OCOEsteban OconAlpine F1 team4
11GASPierre GaslyAlpine F1 team4
12MAGKevin MagnussenHaas F11
13ALBAlexander AlbonWilliams1
14TSUYuki TsunodaScuderia AlphaTauri0
15HULNico HulkenbergHaas F10
16SARLogan SargeantWilliams0
17ZHOGuanyu ZhouAlfa Romeo F1 team0
18DEVNyck de VriesScuderia AlphaTauri0
19PIAOscar PiastriMcLaren0
20NORLando NorrisMcLaren0

Gold medal at Ferrari

Without being a member of any of the junior programmes in Formula One, Charles Leclerc has already managed to rack up quite a few successes. In 2015, the young Monegasque appeared on the radar for the first time after finishing fourth in his debut season in Formula 3 (with Van Amersfoort Racing). The race in Macau earned Leclerc second place, after which he was accepted into the Ferrari Driver Academy.

Test driver duties at Ferrari and Haas, in addition to competing in the GP3 series followed. Leclerc had his hands full in 2016, but shone once again. Alongside Nyck de Vries (and Alexander Albon) at ART Grand Prix, the Monegasque managed to achieve by far the best results and became champion.

Albon came second, De Vries sixth. The entire ART line-up (with the exception of Japanese driver Nirei Fukuzumi) moved on to Formula 2, where Charles Leclerc once again impressed.

Formula 2 and onwards

For the 2017 Formula 2 season, Leclerc sat alongside fellow Ferrari Driver Academy member Antonio Fuoco at Prema. Despite an extremely rough start (and failing to pick up points at his home race in Monaco), Leclerc managed to turn the tide and secure the title. 

Just one week before his 20th birthday, Leclerc won the Formula 2 championship, becoming the youngest winner of that class ever. By the end of the same year, it was announced that the string of outstanding results would earn him a place at Sauber, then newly renamed Alfa Romeo.

The Sauber Turnaround

With Frederic Vasseur at the helm, Sauber were in the process of implementing major changes. Wearing the Alfa Romeo name is one of them, working more closely with Ferrari is another. Leclerc only needed three races to get used to Formula 1, after which the Monegasque immediately started to rack up points. His more experienced teammate Marcus Ericsson struggled to match the results, which made Leclerc's performance all the better.

Once again, the young Monegasque's home race proved cursed, as the Sauber's brakes failed and Leclerc crashed into Brendon Hartley's car. Over the course of the season Charles managed to collect 39 points (with P6 in Baku as his best result) and finished thirteenth in the championship. More than enough for Ferrari to have a good feeling about the switch to the works team from 2019..

In 2019, the choice of Leclerc proved justified. The Monegasque was fast in qualifying and also managed to impress in several races. It wasn’t the four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel who took the team's first pole or victory, but the newcomer from Monaco. In fact, after his pole and victory in Belgium, Leclerc had managed to set a run of four consecutive poles.

It was therefore no surprise that Ferrari announced at the end of the season that they were extending the young Monegasque's contract. He was offered a five-year deal and so Ferrari's future plan seems clear. Leclerc has to do it, but first he has to take the next step. 

2020 was a dramatic year, as that next step became a step backwards. Ferrari's performance in 2020 was markedly less and so the Italian team had to chase. Leclerc may have scored a podium in Austria, but that was all. 

The goal for 2021 was to get more podiums, but that didn't work out. Leclerc had several breakdowns and bad luck. Partly because of this, he again had to settle for just a single podium finish, while he saw his new teammate Carlos Sainz finish ahead of him in the championship with four podiums to his name.

Yet Ferrari's aim was mainly to create a good base for the rule changes and new cars for the 2022 Formula One season. In 2021, it was clear that the team had made progress and Ferrari wants to continue that line in the coming years. If the Italian team is able to produce a competitive car again, 2022 promises an exciting duel between Charles Leclerc and his teammate Carlos Sainz.

Charles Leclerc in 2023

Still, Ferrari's goal was mainly to create a good basis for the rule changes and new cars for the 2022 Formula 1 season. That the team chose the right approach in this was evident at the start of the season. Leclerc scored two wins and a second place in the first three races, while title rival Verstappen crashed out twice.

Leclerc therefore seemed to be emerging as the top favourite for the title, but it was still early in the season. The F1-75 was arguably the fastest car in the field, but throughout the season Ferrari repeatedly missed the mark in several areas. Leclerc had to settle for second place in the championship, but will be looking to make another bid for his first world title in 2023.