Monégasque racing driver Charles Leclerc feels that the possibility to use the latest specification of Ferrari engine during the 2018 Formula One season will be a massive boost to the Sauber F1 Team, while the alliance with Alfa Romeo also makes it an exciting time to be a part of the Hinwil-based outfit, after a very difficult 2017 championship for the team.
The 20-year-old driver will make his Formula 1 race debut with the renamed Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team in 2018 after replacing Mercedes-Benz protégé Pascal Wehrlein alongside Swedish race car driver Marcus Ericsson. And the reigning FIA Formula 2 Champion is looking to make the most of his rookie campaign, with Charles Leclerc hoping that the 2018-specification of Ferrari power unit will help the team move up the pecking order after finishing at the very bottom of the Constructors’ Championship last year.
“Having the new 2018-spec Ferrari engine in place will be a big boost for the team.” – Charles Leclerc said, as reported by the British media earlier today – “The newly formed partnership with Alfa Romeo is also exciting news. As for my personal expectations – my primary goal is to continue developing my skills as a driver, and to gain as much experience in Formula 1 as I can. In terms of my expectations and goals, I will work hard to support the team in developing the car during the season, so that we are able to obtain the best possible results in the 2018 season.” – the Monégasque racing driver added.
In March 2016, it was announced that Charles 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, Charles Leclerc got the opportunity to participate in the first practice session of the 2016 British Grand Prix driving for Haas. At that time, it was believed that if the talented young driver 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, which he has now done. He took part in the mid-season Hungaroring test following the Hungarian Grand Prix, driving the Ferrari SF70H car. 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 Charles 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 back in 1994.