Tuesday, August 29, 2017

FIA F2 Rising Star Charles Leclerc Honing in on Formula 1 seat?

But where will he find an open seat next year? Unless la Scuderia does the unthinkable by jettisoning the Iceman; Uhm, Scratch that...

Current FIA Formula 2 points leader Charles Leclerc, who leads the title fight convincingly, with six Poles and five Wins to date, recently sat down with Britain's "top of The Pops" F1 Reporter James Allen, for a somewhat lengthy interview, as Allen wanted to beat the rush to the apparent title winner who's relatively unknown at the moment - to "Mainstream" Formula 1 audiences, during the Silverstone weekend.

Although I know just the basics regarding the Monegasque lad, which I gleamed for last year's Shooting Starz' report here on No Fenders, when I discovered he was part of the Ferrari Driver Academy, the 19yr old Leclerc definitely seems destined for Formula 1, having finished no worse than fourth overall in his stellar three years of single seater racing.

As Leclerc notes, his family were friends with the Bianchi's, and Charles was helped immensely by the late Jules Bianchi, who not only mentored the multi-Karting champion from Monaco, but was vital in Nicholas Todt becoming his manager.

Yeah, that Nicholas chap's the son of FIA President Jean Todt, along with being co-owner of the powerhouse Feeder Series ART Grand Prix team.

Interestingly, Leclerc finished runner-up in his final Karting campaign, the CIK-FIA World KZ Championship behind some Niederlander Hot Head known here in Nofendersville as "the Brat!" Formally known as the Dutch sensation Max Verstappen

For 2014, Charles Debutante season in Cars, he finished second overall in Formula Renault 2.0 Alps, before graduating to the Formula 3 European Championship the following year, where he finished fourth overall.

As the 2016 European F3 title was won by Sweden's Felix Rosenqvist, with Ferrari F1 reserve driver Antonio Giovinazzi, who made his Formula 1 debut this year for Sauber as Pascal Wehrlein's substitute, finished runner-up.

Current GP3 driver Jake Dennis was third with Leclerc P4, finishing one place ahead of some KuhNuck named Lance Stroll.

Twenty-sixteen was his "Breakout Year," where he not only won the GP3 championship for ART Grand Prix, but made his Formula 1 debut for Haas F1 at Silverstone, just over a year ago during Friday morning's (Free Practice) FP1 session.

He then continued his FP1 outings at the next two races in Hungary and Germany, and was slated for two more Friday morning outings, but with the Malaysian GP weekend's schedule changes, his GP3 "Day Job" clashed too closely with Formula 1, along with being in a tight title fight with fellow Ferrari Academy Driver Antonio Fuoco. As ironically the pair would graduate to Prima Racing's F2 squad for this season's campaign.

The Monegasque teenager made his fourth and final Friday morning FP1 appearance for Haas F1 at Interlagos during the Brazilian Grand Prix weekend last November, before capturing the GP3 Championship title.

Now comes word that Leclerc will return to the cockpit of a Formula 1 machine, this time making his debut for the "Works" Scuderia Ferrari squad at the post-Hungarian GP In-season test outing between August 1-2.

As Leclerc's future seems quite bright, and I'll be really surprised if he doesn't replace Pascal Wehrlein at Sauber next year, where his past ART Grand Prix Boss Fredric Vassar, whom he won the 2016 GP3 title for, is the Team Principal...