Charles Leclerc has long been destined for a Formula 1 career, and recent years had seen that destiny intertwined with Ferrari. Having followed his godfather Jules Bianchi into the Ferrari Driver Academy, 2019's promotion to the Scuderia begins an emotional journey for the Monaco-native, who has dedicated much of his career success to Bianchi, who lost his life as a result of injuries sustained in a crash during the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix, which he drove for Marussia. With titles under his belt in GP3 and Formula 2 on his way to F1, Leclerc has been earmarked as a future champion, and he's already in the right place to make good on that it seems.
Having romped to the F2 title in 2017, a campaign that featured memorable drives in Bahrain and Baku especially, much was expected of Leclerc, even though he was joining a Sauber team that had finished bottom of the constructors' standings the year prior. Key in Leclerc's move to the Swiss outfit, however, were strengthened ties to engine supplier Ferrari, who had signed Leclerc to its academy in 2016 and handed him testing duties.
After a struggle in the first three races of the season, Leclerc suddenly found his groove in Baku – scene of one of his best F2 performances – as he scored a sixth-place finish to become just the second Monegasque to take points from a grand prix since Louis Chiron in 1950.
Leclerc comfortably outperformed experienced team-mate Marcus Ericsson, outqualifying the Swede 17-4 and taking points in 10 races.
Leclerc's impressive start to life in F1 sparked many rumours that he would replace former world champion Kimi Raikkonen in the Scuderia's line-up, and it was confirmed in September that Ferrari would break with tradition and give the young Leclerc a chance to prove his worth alongside four-time champion Sebastian Vettel.