Charles Leclerc, who is the reigning GP3 champion and has been a member of the Ferrari Driver Academy since 2016, has admitted that he has an eye on a potential Scuderia Ferrari seat for the 2019 Formula One season. The young Monaco-born driver has revved up his chances of a 2018 debut with a series of Friday appearances for Sauber, the Ferrari-powered Swiss team. Along with Antonio Giovinazzi, Charles Leclerc is Ferrari’s top junior driver and the Italian marque says it is trying to find the pair seats for next year.
Sauber team boss Frederic Vasseur, however, said at Sepang that he wants Charles Leclerc to focus on trying to win the Formula 2 title over the next two months for now: “”I think he has to be focused on the last part of the championship, win the title and then we will see for next year,” said the Frenchman.
Leclerc agrees that there is “nothing concrete” set up for 2018 yet: “(Manager) Nicolas (Todt) and Ferrari talk a lot, but they think I should focus on Formula 2 — and I’m quite happy with that,” said the 19-year-old in Malaysia – “I am sure Ferrari and Nicolas will do everything to find the best option for me in 2018.”
One of those options is Super Formula, the Japanese series that this year’s GP2 champion Pierre Gasly contested before getting his full-time F1 debut for 2018. Charles Leclerc said of the Super Formula option: “I would prefer not to. Let’s see what options I have at the end of the year, but I hope I do not have to go to Japan.” The young Monaco-born driver is clearly pushing for the 2018 Sauber seat, and after that his ideal scenario would be replacing Finnish driver Kimi Raikkonen at the Maranello team: “Any driver who has a chance to drive for Ferrari would take it,” he said – “As I said, right now I’m focused on Formula 2, then I’ll do next season, and after that I’ll think about 2019. But of course I will do my best to be in a top team as quickly as possible.” – Charles Leclerc concluded, as reported by the Italian media on Saturday.