Future Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc is very well aware of the fact that if the Maranello team maintains its title-fighting credentials next season he ‘needs to deliver’ and be ready for the Formula 1 world title battle in 2019. The current F1 rookie, 20, will become Ferrari’s youngest driver since Ricardo Rodriguez in 1961 and the least experienced driver in its line-up since Stefan Johanssen in 1985 as he replaces Kimi Raikkonen alongside Sebastian Vettel for 2019.
Charles Leclerc, a star in Ferrari’s junior programme before making his F1 debut for Sauber this year, has reflected on his dramatic promotion having been told by team principal Maurizio Arrivabene at Monza during the Italian Grand Prix race weekend and accepts results will need to be instant despite his limited experience in F1: “I definitely need to deliver. I have had a very good season this year where I have learned the most of it and next year I have to perform in a big team,” Leclerc said. “I still have to learn a lot of things but I will be a lot ready than this year. My target is to go do the best job I have with the car. I think this year they have the best car and a chance to win the title and if next year is the same then it will be the same, to win the title, and that will be a big thing, but I will have to grow a lot as a driver and take the best results possible.”
Charles Leclerc has also brushed off suggestions of added pressure with his rapid promotion to Ferrari and has faith in his own mental fortitude to be strong enough for the intense scrutiny placed on a Scuderia works driver: “I can see that a lot of people think I will have a lot more pressure on my shoulders but I really don’t,” he said. “I think I have a mentality which really takes off all the pressure. I really focus on myself and don’t really think about what people expect from me in the car. If I do the right job in the car and I work in the right way, then the performances will be there. I just fully focus on myself and do a good job on the car, so no, I don’t feel the pressure.” – the 20-year-old Monégasque racing driver added.