Photo: Sauber F1 Team

Charles Leclerc Ready to Realize Dream with F1 Debut in Australia

By Joey Barnes, Editor-in-Chief

Formula 1 is so often the dream for many young aspiring drivers, but it is about to become a reality for Charles Leclerc.

The 20-year-old from Monaco is set to begin the next chapter of his racing career when the lights go out for this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix.

The climb has been about as methodical as one can get, winning three races en route to the GP3 title in 2016 and moving on to capture seven wins and claim the FIA Formula 2 (formerly GP2 Series) championship in 2017. Now, the Ferrari Academy pilot is taking the featured role at Alfa Romeo Sauber for 2018.

“I am really looking forward to being in Melbourne,” said Leclerc, pilot of the No. 16 Sauber C37.

“The first race of a season is always exciting for a driver, but this being the first Formula 1 Grand Prix of my career makes the occasion even more special. Melbourne is a lovely city that I discovered when I came to watch the Australian GP last year.

“Driving on the circuit in Albert Park will be a new experience for me, and I look forward to the challenge. With it being the opening race of the season, you can really feel the excitement and energy there.”

If preseason testing is any indication, Leclerc has the pace – with help of updated Ferrari power – to push Swiss-based squad into a mid-range battle all season long with the likes of Haas F1 and Toro Rosso, among others.

“Over the past weeks, I have got to know the team well, learned all of the relevant procedures, and was able to get a first impression of the new C37 during winter testing,” continued Leclerc.

“I am eager to now spend a full race weekend in the car and work with the team to understand how we can maximize our potential. I can’t wait to be on track for my first Grand Prix as a Formula 1 driver.”

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Joey Barnes is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Motorsports Tribune. He has covered auto racing since 2013 that has spanned from Formula 1 to NASCAR, with coverage on IndyCar. Additionally, his work has appeared on Racer, IndyCar.com and Autoweek magazine. In 2017, he was recognized with an award in Spot News Writing by the National Motorsports Press Association.