Charles Leclerc believes his character has been moulded by the untimely passing of his father, Herve, and godfather, Jules Bianchi. The Monegasque driver has spoken of the affect the two men had on his life and career, which is now flourishing.
Last year Ferrari made the decision to promote Leclerc to the team at the expense of Kimi Raikkonen, in what was a deviation of their usual policy to hire more experienced drivers.
He is viewed as a future world champion by many, and he thinks personal tragedy has made him a stronger person.
“There have been moments that I wish never happened but they have made me grow as a driver and helped me,” he said.
“The loss of my father and Jules. Two incredibly hard moments in my life that made me stronger as a person and a driver. Mentally I am stronger than I used to be. They definitely stay with you forever. Unfortunately I lost my father quite early, it changes you. It changes you forever.”
Herve passed away in 2017 - three days before Leclerc was due to race in Baku in F2, while Bianchi tragically died after being in a coma for nine months after a crash at the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix. Their passing has changed Leclerc’s understanding of the importance of family.
“My values are that family is extremely important, a lot more than all of this,” he continued, speaking of F1.
“I learned this partly when I lost my father and Jules. When your life is going well, motor sport is everything but after this I understood that family is the most important thing in life.”
After the opening five races of the 2019 season, Leclerc is fifth in the driver’s championship.
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