Scuderia Ferrari Monegasque driver Charles Leclerc’s full interview for Sportweek, the weekly information sports magazine of Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport:
Do you feel like an example to follow?
Charles Leclerc: “I try to be myself, behaving well, if this can then serve as an inspiration for those who observe me, I’m happy about it.”
What does it mean to be the hero of so many very young people?
Charles Leclerc: “Every time I come to Maranello, outside the Ferrari factory there are always kids waiting for me. In recent years, Formula 1 has regained popularity, also thanks to Netflix. It’s nice to see a child’s eyes light up when we make a photo. A small gesture is enough, which does not cost effort, to give joy to others.”
Even today you are karting like when you were a kid. Would it be nice to discover a new Leclerc?
Charles Leclerc: “I would like to help talented young people, who don’t have the means, to emerge and make their dreams come true. However, it is a project that takes time and which I therefore see as possible only in the future.”
Do you still think of getting a flying license?
Charles Leclerc: “I’ve already had a few lessons, I’m now at 11 to 13 hours of flying, let’s say I have the basics. I had to stop, I hope to start again in 2023. There is a lot of theory to study and I obviously like the practice more.”
What do you mean?
Charles Leclerc: “Even though I’ve taken planes countless times in my life, I wasn’t calm. Now, knowing what pilots do and all the options there are in case of unexpected events, has reassured me.”
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Would you like to be invited to take a ride on the planes of an acrobatic team like the Frecce Tricolori?
Charles Leclerc: “I’ve tried something like this before, but on those jets it would be amazing.”
Do you like motorbikes?
Charles Leclerc: “I have one motorbike, customised, which I bought in Bali, when I went there on a trip with my best friends. We rented it on the spot and I wanted to take it with me to Monte Carlo, even though it was a mess to get it registered to ride there.”
Why that particular motorbike?
Charles Leclerc: “Because of the memories it holds. I had just arrived in Formula 1 and I decided to take all my closest friends on holiday, for the first time outside Europe. We had a great time.”
Why are you happy racing?
Charles Leclerc: “For the adrenaline and because on the track I feel free.”
Try describing the feeling of driving a Formula 1 car to someone who does not know racing. Valentino Rossi, when he tested the Ferrari, said: It is faster than I thought.
Charles Leclerc: “A nice definition, because it is difficult for a normal person to think about the speed of a Formula 1 car. I always make the comparison with the Rollercoaster. It’s like being up there, but keeping everything under control.”
How do you feel about walking the catwalk?
Charles Leclerc: “I’m not comfortable. Too many stares on me. But I like to watch the show and observe the more unusual garments. I was at the Ferrari Style show in Milan last year and before that at Armani.”
Favourite colours or colours you would never wear?
Charles Leclerc: “These days I prefer grey, beige and white. I’m not a big fan of fuchsia, in the sense that I wouldn’t see myself dressed all in fuchsia, but I’ve worn that too”.
Do you ever talk about fashion with Lewis Hamilton?
Charles Leclerc: “Sometimes we discuss the brands we like. He really has good taste and a lot of courage to show off the strangest looks when he comes to the circuits.”
Will we see a clothing line of your own like Hamilton did?
Charles Leclerc: “I had started the project, but I stopped. Maybe in the future.”
How do you choose the clothes you wear every day?
Charles Leclerc: “There’s a very classic part of me, which seeks simplicity and comfort, and another more creative part that leads me to play around with streetwear. I let myself be guided by the mood of the day, by how I feel, because dressing is a way of making something clear with one’s image.”
How do you express your creativity?
Charles Leclerc: “Mainly through music. I play the piano and invent my own pieces. I will never be as good with a pencil at drawing.”
Do you enjoy art?
Charles Leclerc: “I don’t have much free time, but when I can, I go to see exhibitions and shows. One of my favourite artists is Jean-Michel Basquiat. Among the more current ones, I like Jason Boyd Kinsella for his very particular style.”
Do you have any good-luck charms you don’t part with?
Charles Leclerc: “I had some as a kid. My grandmother always used to sew a cross inside my overalls, under the sponsors’ logos, but that tradition has disappeared since she is no longer here…”
What did you think when you saw yourself in a Ferrari suit for the first time?
Charles Leclerc: “It was a very big emotion, because it was my childhood dream to get into F1 and race for the Prancing Horse, even though at that time I was not yet an official Ferrari driver (only FDA). But it was an important step in my career. I also thought of my father, because he had shared this dream.”
Ferrari is red, but for your 488 Pista you chose a different colour….
Charles Leclerc: “At that time I was using a matt black helmet with the Monégasque flag going from the front to the back. So I decided to order the car exactly the same. I still like it very much.”
You also take great care over the graphics of your racing helmets. Which design do you like the most?
Charles Leclerc: “Probably the one used in France (2022), with the reproduction on the two halves of the photographs of my father Hervé and Jules Bianchi. Two super important people for me who are no longer with us. The creation of the helmets is a joint effort between myself and Adrien Paviot, a very good designer.”
What is fashion for you?
Charles Leclerc: “A way of expressing oneself without speaking. I realised this when I started travelling all over the world, thanks to F1, visiting countries and cities I didn’t know before. I realised that dressing well had a different meaning according to different cultures and traditions. That’s when fashion really started to interest me, I would say from 2017, even though I’ve always liked it.”
What was the next step?
Charles Leclerc: “I started attending fashion shows, then I became a testimonial for Giorgio Armani and then I came more and more into contact with this environment.”