Ferrari Formula 1 Academy driver Charles Leclerc must be given an F1 seat in 2018. He has blown his competitors out of the water, impressed and then impressed again. Seeing as the driver has been making headline after headline, one thought it was about time that his credentials were analysed.
Leclerc’s name is one that is beginning to sound familiar, even to those who do not follow Formula 2 – the series he currently competes in.
Recently, the 19-year-old topped the timesheets in the post-Hungary Formula 1 test, driving this year’s Ferrari. This was the first time he had driven an F1 car in an official test or outing since participating in a practice session for Haas in 2016.
By setting the quickest lap time of the day Leclerc managed to go faster than Mercedes man Valtteri Bottas.
This performance at the Hungaroring impressed all, with his ability diverting some attention away from Robert Kubica’s seat fit which was happening in the paddock.
But why does any of this matter? This is not the first time that a young driver has stolen the show.
Leclerc has dominated F2, being invincible for the best part of the season so far. Nonetheless, the Monacan-born driver still managed to make astonishing progress to finish fourth in the feature race after starting 19th on the grid. Not bad for a track where overtaking is considered challenging.
Staggeringly, the Monacan-born driver has claimed pole at every circuit this season except Hungary where he was disqualified.
The driver had originally qualified on pole but was later discounted due to an irregular part on his car. It must be noted that both he and his team have insisted that the part gave them no performance advantage.
Nonetheless, he still managed to make astonishing progress to finish fourth in the feature race after starting 19th on the grid. Not bad for a track where overtaking is considered challenging.
Aside from Hungary’s drama, Leclerc has won a significant number of feature races in the 2017 season, starting first on the grid in each of them too.
Away from racing, Leclerc has shown maturity, composure, and determination, despite losing his father a short while ago.
This has spurred him on, wanting to make his late father proud and, rightly so. His performance has not been hindered by such harrowing circumstances.
Going back further, Leclerc was crowned the victor of the GP3 series last year and finished 4th in FIA European Formula 3 the year previous.
It is evident that the post-Hungary test is a defining moment in Leclerc’s career. Before it was thought that he should be given a seat for the 2018 F1 season. Now, it is evident that he MUST be given a seat.
With what he has shown so far, it is only safe to assume that his best is yet to come. Whether his F1 breaks arrives in 2018 or 2019, I would place a lot of money on betting that he will be an F1 world champion in the years to come.
There aren’t many drivers that have a CV like his at such a young age.