Leclerc credits his father for F1 breakthrough

Jamie Woodhouse
Charles Leclerc on the grid at Zandvoort.

Charles Leclerc prepares for the 2021 Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort.

While racing is in the “DNA” of Charles Leclerc, he believes his late father Hervé was crucial to him making it to Formula 1.

Leclerc, a product of the Ferrari Driver Academy, enjoyed a stellar stint in junior racing that propelled him into the Formula 1 paddock.

After securing the GP3 and Formula 2 titles back-to-back in 2016 and 2017, Leclerc made his way onto the Formula 1 grid with Sauber, needing only one season to convince Ferrari to promote him to a race seat in their 2019 line-up.

The Monegasque driver is now a two-time race winner with the Scuderia, while he has also claimed nine pole positions in what is still a relatively fledgling career for the 24-year-old.

And Leclerc does not shy away from explaining just how important his father Hervé was on that path to Formula 1.

Hervé was a racer himself, competing in Formula 3 in the 1980s and 1990s, but he sadly passed away in 2017 aged 54, which meant he did not get to see his son compete in Formula 1.

Charles Leclerc in the Ferrari garage. Italy September 2021
Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc in the garage during qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix. Italy September 2021

“My father introduced me to motorsport so I don’t know if I would have become what I am if it weren’t for him,” said Leclerc in an interview for the official Ferrari Magazine.

“Even though I think maybe I would have ended up as a racing driver anyway, since it’s in my DNA. It’s what I love doing the most. But I don’t think I would have made it to Formula 1 without him.

“His example was fundamental for my growth as a driver, as much as a person.”


Charles’ younger brother Arthur Leclerc is now also looking to forge his path into Formula 1 under the Ferrari Driver Academy banner.

Arthur is set to contest his second season in Formula 3, remaining with Prema for the 2022 campaign having taken two wins in his rookie season.

Charles, meanwhile, is preparing for a crucial season ahead at Ferrari as the Maranello outfit target a return to winning ways and a challenge for the titles as Formula 1 ushers in new regulations for 2022 both on the chassis and engine side.


Vasseur compares Bottas to Leclerc

Fred Vasseur is hopeful for a good relationship with Valtteri Bottas after working together in junior series.