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Monaco’s Charles Leclerc: Child Prodigy To Ferrari Driver

Charles Leclerc’s incredible career from karting through to his Formula One debut.

This weekend, Formula 1 is back in what’s known as The Playground Of The Rich And Famous, or The Jewel of the Mediterranean. Simply put, F1 will be racing in Monaco. For the 81st time in the sport’s history, the iconic streets of Monaco will host the Monaco Grand Prix. Charles Leclerc is the only Monégasque on the grid and will be enjoying his sixth home race since joining F1 back in 2018.

Charles Leclerc did not grow up in a particularly wealthy family by Monaco’s standards. His father, Hervé Leclerc, was a former Formula 3 driver, which provided some connection to motorsport but did not necessarily equate to great wealth. Leclerc’s family faced financial challenges, and his journey to Formula 1 involved significant sacrifices and support from sponsors.

Leclerc’s talent and determination played crucial roles in his rise through the ranks of motorsport. Notably, he joined the Ferrari Driver Academy in 2016.

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Charles Leclerc has a knack for making great impressions in his rookie seasons. The Ferrari driver earned his seat after an impressive debut season in F1, which he earned after incredible debut seasons in GP3 and Formula 2. The Monagasque who will partner Lewis Hamilton at the Scuderia for the 2025 season has been winning since a young age, proving to be a generational talent.


In 2005 and 2006, Charles Leclerc started competing in karting. He competed in the Coupe de France Mini Kart and Championnat de France Regional PACA Mini Kart classes, winning the latter twice. In 2007, he competed in the Minime class of the same competitions. He was runners-up in the Championnat de France Regional PACA. Also in 2007, he won the Trophée Claude Secq Minime class. Leclerc competed in the Bridgestone Cup and Championnat de France Minime classes in 2008, coming 5th and 2nd respectively.

In 2009 he moved up to the Cadet classes winning the Championnat de France, Bridgestone Cup and the Championnat de la Ligue Rhone Alpes.

Charles Leclerc moved up to the KF3 class in 2010, staying in the same class through 2011 as well. Whilst in the KF3 class, he won the Monaco Kart Cup, the CIK-FIA World Cup and the CIK-FIA Karting Academy Trophy. He also won the Junior class of the ERDF Masters Kart.

The Monagasque stepped up to KF2 in 2012, winning the WSK Euro Series and coming 2nd in the CIK-FIA European Championship. In 2013, he was in the KZ, KZ1 and KZ2 classes. Leclerc was the winner at the KZ2 South Garda Winter Cup and runners-up at the KZ CIK-FIA European Championship.

Formula Renault 2.0

After a successful karting career, Charles Leclerc graduated to single-seater racing in 2014 driving for Fortec Motorsports. At the 2014 Formula Renault 2.0 Alps Series, he won 2 races and had 4 further podium finishes. He impressively finished his debut season P2 in the Drivers’ Championship. Leclerc competed in three rounds of the 2014 Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0, and despite finishing in P2 thrice, he was ineligible to score championship points.

Formula 3 and GP3

Charles Leclerc, having made quite the impression stepped up to the Formula 3 tier the following year. In his debut season at the 2015 FIA Formula 3 European Championship, he won 4 races and 9 further podium finishes. He also had 3 pole positions. Driving for Van Amersfoort Racing, he finished P4 in the overall Drivers’ Championship. In the Rookies’ Championship, he was P1.

At the Macau Grand Prix later that year, Leclerc was P2 in both the qualifying race and the main race.

In 2016, Charles Leclerc joined the GP3 series, making the switch to ART Grand Prix. The Monagasque did well, claiming the title as his after 8 podium finishes including 3 wins. He won the title 25 points of runner-up Alexander Albon.

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Formula 2

Driving for Prema Racing, Charles Leclerc joined the 2017 FIA Formula 2 Championship. He had an incredible debut season yet again, winning the title on his first try. He had 9 podium finishes which included 7 wins, allowing him to win the title by 72 points.

In doing so, Leclerc became the youngest-ever champion of the main support series for Formula 1 at 19 years, and 356 days old. He was also the first driver since Nico Hülkenberg in 2009 to win the championship in their rookie season. Winning the title in his rookie season is something only Leclerc, Hulkenburg, Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton, George Russell and Oscar Piastri have accomplished.

In 2018, Charles Leclerc signed with the Sauber F1 team. As per routine, he had a great rookie season, this time in a midfield car. He consistently finished in the points, a P6 being his highest achievement, allowing him to finish P13 in the Drivers’ Championship. His performances in his rookie F1 season earned him a seat alongside 4-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel in Ferrari for the 2019 season.


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