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Tkart magazine

Editorial | Charles Leclerc: how great it’s to go karting

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09 September 2019

The young Ferrari driver raced in karts until a few years ago and even now, as much as he can, he willingly returns to train on karts and meet old friends who helped him become a Formula 1 driver. During one of these training sessions, in Lonato, Charles spoke about his relationship with karts, the benefits that driving these vehicles can bring and the competitors of that time who are also competitors in single-seaters in the present day.

"It's always nice to get back on the track driving a kart: physically, it is definitely good training, while in terms of driving, in all honestly, it's a bit difficult to make a comparison, because Formula 1 is very different. Take braking, for example: with karts you have a very short run, while in cars, in general, you have a much better chance of modulation. This is why, when switching from Formula to karting, there is always a need for a few adaptive laps to get used to it again".


"Overall, however, going karting remains a way to drive on a track, with the objective of going as fast as possible: as a vision, therefore, and in terms of mentality, it is always very useful, especially for keeping your determination high during breaks.
The situation is different when viewed in the shoes of a karting driver who dreams of progressing to Formula cars: in this case the kart is very educational, both from a technical and a personal point of view. For example, it makes you improve as a driver and as a person, teaching you to work in a team, and makes you understand the importance of giving the right feedback to the technicians: these are essential points that will still be important in the future. In relation to driving, moreover, it is in a kart that you begin to take on a racing vision and get out of situations when overtaking.
Personally, as far as I am concerned, going back to karting is also a way to see so many friends and so many people who have helped me get where I am now. I miss kart races a bit, because the environment there is special: the weekend is easier; you get into the kart, start it up and, when you are done, there is time to have fun. Things are less serious; we laugh a lot. Perhaps this is why the friendships you make in karts remain. At least as long as you don't put on a helmet, because then, once the visor is lowered, it's another story. We drivers are competitive by nature, we always want to achieve the best time on the track, and this will never change.
I clearly remember in 2011 when I won the World Cup in Sarno: in those seasons, Verstappen, Ocon, Albon, Russell, Stroll were also racing in karts ... some of us we were a real group of friends, and it's a beautiful thing, a few years later, to have met them again in Formula 1. This is why, if you ask me for one piece of advice to give young kart drivers who dream of becoming professional drivers, I say never give up: there will not always be "ups" and sometimes there will also be "downs", but you learn more in those moments. You must never let go and always push yourself as much as you can".

From Monaco, born in 1997, an official Ferrari driver, he raced in karts for several years with excellent results. Before starting in F1 he won the GP3 Series in 2016 and the FIA Formula 2 Championship in 2017

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