The origin of Charles Leclerc ‘il Predestinato’ nickname explained

Jamie Woodhouse
Charles Leclerc is interviewed. Austin October 2022.

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc speaks to the media. Austin October 2022.

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc carries the nickname of ‘il Predestinato’, and now the creator has explained the origin. Touché young Charles!

Leclerc may still only be young at 25 years of age, but he is already an established member of the grid having debuted back in 2018.

Graduating into Formula 1 through the Ferrari Driver Academy, Leclerc was promoted to the Scuderia’s line-up after one season with Sauber and now is a five-time grands prix winner with the Italian outfit, but his nickname in the country stretches back much further.

It is not uncommon for a Formula 1 driver to be also known by a nickname, Leclerc’s team-mate Carlos Sainz for example is also known as “Chilli”, while the “Smooth Operator” has also come to stick in Formula 1.

For Leclerc, he has the nickname ‘il Predestinato’ over in Ferrari’s native Italy, that translating to ‘The Predestined’ and given to him by Formula 1 commentator Carlo Vanzini.

It all stems from a media training exercise where the teenage Leclerc delivered a witty comeback that created ‘il Predestinato’.

Explaining how that nickname came about, Vanzini, as per Ferrari News, said: “It became popular after he won in Monza, but I had used that nickname for his first win in Spa as well and I actually used to call him that even earlier, when he was in Alfa Romeo.

“It all goes back to an early encounter. He was about 15 and they had brought him to Sky for some media training. We had this meeting and then had a press conference simulation where I asked him something like: ‘You’re starting on pole today but your team-mate is racing for title, what are you going to do?’

“To which he answered, ‘I race to win.’ So we sat there and came up with a more diplomatic answer, something along the lines of ‘I’ll focus on my race, but I will help the team wherever necessary.’

“But then this boy came up to me later and told me the question I had asked was fundamentally wrong because ‘there is no way my team-mate will be the one fighting for the championship and not me.'”

10 years on from that witty comment, there is actually some truth to it as Leclerc was the one fighting for the 2022 Drivers’ title, Sainz never really bringing himself into the conversation.

Ultimately Leclerc was unable to stay in the fight, crashing out while leading the French GP proving to be a bitter blow, while Ferrari more than played their part with reliability struggles and some very questionable strategical decisions. Then, as the season went on, the F1-75 fell away from the level of the Red Bull RB18 manned by Max Verstappen.

Will 2023 be Leclerc’s year? He and Ferrari will certainly hope so!

Read next: Helmut Marko grateful Max Verstappen’s 2022 recovery didn’t need ’35 to 36 races’