F1: Charles Leclerc's rise through junior years
- The rise of the Ferrari driver has been as quick as his speed on track.
The youngest Ferrari hire in years, Charles Leclerc, began his carting career in 2005 and rose through the KF3 and KF2 ranks until his ninth and final year in 2013, when he was runner-up in the FIA World KZ Championship, behind Max Verstappen. He entered single seaters in the Formula Renault 2.0 Alps championship for British team Fortec Motorsports in 2014.
During that season, he also raced in the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 season as a guest driver. He comes from a driving pedigree, with his late father Hervé Leclerc having also raced in Formula 3 in the 1980s and 1990s. He was a respected name in the karting circles, and his sons Charles and Arthur are now following in his footsteps.
Leclerc's rise to a drive in a top constructor like Ferrari has been relatively quick with him testing for Haas and Sauber in just his third year in single-seater racing cars. Here's how he rose through his junior Formula years to the high-profile seat at the 'Prancing Horse'.
Formula 3 European Championship | 2015
At only 17, Leclerc graduated to the Formula 3 European Championship in 2015 with Dutch team Van Amersfoort Racing. With a Volkswagen engine powering his car, he won in Silverstone, Hockenheim, Spa-Francorchamps and Nuremberg which saw him take the lead in the championship.
His crash with Lance Stroll at Zandvoort proved to be decisive as he never recovered from the damage to his car's chassis. He finished fourth, behind champion Felix Rosenquist, Antonio Giovinazzi, and Jake Dennis. Despite the setback, his talent was noted by scouts and experts in general.
He quite notably won the rookie championship, beating George Russell, Lance Stroll and Alexander Albon by quite a margin, and incidentally, all of the them will be on the Formula 1 grid in 2019.