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A short chat with Charles Leclerc: karting, rivalries, Formula 1 and everything in between
Yanek Sterzel
12 June 2020

You see him sharing a laugh in the paddock with the mechanics and he looks exactly the same as he was 10 years ago, when, as a young driver, he gave a run for their money to drivers more experienced than him. A time when, with wins, overtakes and some fights, he started to become for the driver he is today; namely, one of the two men in the world to drive an F1 Ferrari in the World Championship that everyone dreams of taking part in.

This is Charles Leclerc, a boy passionate about karting like few others, so much so that he created his own chassis brand and returned to the track (with friends) as soon as he managed to take a break from his commitments.

On one of these test days, at South Garda Karting, we had the opportunity to conduct a short interview with him, hosted by the Birel ART team who, together with the Leclerc By Lennox Racing Team, supported Charles during the two days in Lonato.

But instead of the classic questions, we just showed him some pictures. here are his answers:

[caption id="attachment_286439" align="aligncenter" width="700"] the post with which Charles Leclerc announced the birth of his kart brand[/caption]

“The launch of my kart brand was a special announcement, because it was the realization of a dream that I had since I was a child. I started my karting career and I always had in mind to do something firsthand in this world, especially to help younger drivers reach higher levels.

Just think about it: me, Max (Verstappen n.d.r.), Pierre (Gasly), Esteban (Ocon) ... today we are all in Formula 1, but it is wit karting that we all started. And it wasn't even too long ago.

The fact that I wrote that karting is the means by which I learned the most is because I mean it. All drivers learn the basics with karting: rather than driving per se, which is very different from Formula 1, you learn to work with mechanics and engineers, which is fundamental in continuing your career. Personally, my working method hasn't changed from my karting days onwards.

[caption id="attachment_286442" align="aligncenter" width="700"] The podium of the Varennes World Championship in 2013, Leclerc's last karting race. He finished 2nd behind Verstappen and in front of Lennox-Lamb[/caption]

"I wasn't very happy after this race ... Especially in karting I was very hard on myself, and that result was not what I wanted. However, considering how the season had gone and that we weren't the strongest in terms of pure speed that weekend, it didn't go so bad.

Now with Jordon we have a team together and with Max ... Well, we have been racing together since we started international competitions. It is now more than 10 years.

[gallery size="medium" ids="286465,286490,286474,286481,286487,286471"]

That day, Charles's true character emerged: fair but tough, a driver that makes no compromise ...

“I certainly grew a lot compared to the times of karting. But it's true, I've always been tough on the track. The only thing I've always had in mind, when I race, is to win! Just to say, I remember that on the Saturday before the race, we had a strong argument with Ben (Hanley, his teammate editor's note) over an accident. Fortunately, today, everything is just a memory, and every time we meet with Ben everything is fine, and I'm happy about that.

"I don't think money and notoriety have changed me. In the end, I'm the same person I have always been. This is also why I like to organize karting days, because I look for the simplicity and authenticity of the people who met me long before I got to F1. Then, of course, seeing so many fans who greet you and look at you is always a pleasure, and I can perceive the difference even if compared to 5 - 6 years ago. But I don't think this has changed me."


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