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Charles Leclerc




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Charles Leclerc



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Monaco-born Charles began racing at the age of 5, though it was a couple more years before he started to do it seriously.

In 2005 he won the French PACA Championship, the youngster going on to win the series again in 2006 and 2008.

In 2009, he was French Cadet champion before moving up to the KF3 class in 2010, when he won the Junior Monaco Kart Cup.

In 2011, he won the CIK-FIA KF3 World Cup, CIK-FIA Academy Trophy and the ERDF Junior Kart Masters.

2011 also saw Charles join Nicolas Todt's All Road Management company, joining his great childhood friend Jules Bianchi who was also managed by Todt - the youngster having begun karting at the track run by Bianchi's father in Brignoles.

Leclerc graduated to the KF2 category in 2012 with the factory-backed ART Grand Prix team, winning the WSK Euro Series title, as well as finishing runner-up in the CIK-FIA European KF2 Championship and the CIK-FIA Under 18 World Karting Championship.

In his final year of karting in 2013, Leclerc claimed sixth position in the CIK-FIA European KZ Championship and finished second in the CIK-FIA World KZ Championship, behind a certain Max Verstappen.

For 2014 he made the switch to single-seaters, contesting the Formula Renault 2.0 Alps championship with Fortec Motorsports. Over the course of the season he took seven podium positions, including a double victory at Monza, to finish runner-up in the championship behind Nyck de Vries.

Charles also won the Junior Championship title at the final race of the season in Jerez, finishing ahead of Russian teenager Matevos Isaakyan.

In addition he also took part in a partial Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 season with Fortec as a guest driver. In the six races he contested he finished on the podium three times, taking a second place at the Nurburgring followed by a pair of second-place finishes at the Hungaroring.

In 2015 he contested the FIA Formula 3 European Championship with Van Amersfoort Racing. Finishing fourth in the championship, courtesy of 13 podiums, including 4 wins, Charles also picked up 'rookie of the year' award.

Bringing a strong season to an end, the Monegasque finished runner-up in the Macau Grand Prix

In December 2015, Charles took part in post-season GP3 testing with ART Grand Prix and Arden International. In February 2016, Charles was confirmed at ART, the youngster subsequently winning the title in the season finale in Abu Dhabi, despite crashing out in the feature race.

2016 also saw Charles inducted into the Ferrari Driver Academy, as the youngster followed the path taken by his great friend Bianchi. At the same time it was announced that he would act as development driver for both Haas and Ferrari.

As part of his role as development driver, Charles participated in the first practice session of the British Grand Prix for Haas, thereby making his F1 debut. A few days later he drove the Ferrari on the opening day of the mid-season test at Silverstone, ending the day fourth quickest.

It was widely believed that should Charles win the GP3 championship - which he did - he would follow Daniil Kvyat and Valtteri Bottas straight into F1, albeit with Haas. However, team boss Guenther Steiner made it quite clear that this would not be the case, and that the youngster would move up to F2 before F1.

Joining Prema Racing, it's fair to say that Charles dominated the inaugural F2 championship, the youngster winning the title with three races remaining.

That said, the fact that his 9 podium visits included 7 wins tells a story, for when it went right for Charles it went very, very well. However, there were many weekends when it didn't and rarely due to the youngster.

Whether he was the innocent victim of rivals' over enthusiasm, poor reliability or even technical infringements, Charles didn't have it easy, nonetheless he won the title in style giving a number of superb performances right up until the final race of the season.

As well as his F2 commitments, Charles had driven the Ferrari at the mid-season test in Hungary and the Sauber in the post-season tyre test in Abu Dhabi. This in addition to his four FP1 outings with the Swiss team.

On 2 December, at a press conference outside Milan, following weeks of speculation, Charles was confirmed as Marcus Ericsson's teammate at Sauber for 2018, the Swiss outfit now in partnership with Alfa Romeo.

Many believe that a strong performance in 2018, when he will have access to the latest-spec Ferrari engine, will lead to a work drive with the Maranello outfit in 2019.

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