Reigning Formula 2 champion Charles Leclerc will be making his debut in the 2018 Formula 1 season with the Alfa Romeo Sauber team. The Monegasque driver has signed a one-year contract with the Hinwil-based team alongside Marcus Ericsson. He has already had eight free practice outings with Haas and Sauber respectively. Leclerc also drove for Sauber at two Pirelli tyre test sessions in 2017.
Leclerc said, “I have had the opportunity to get to know the team already. From the first moment on, all of the team members were very welcoming and helpful, and made me feel comfortable. I have already worked with some of the Ferrari engineers in the past,” he added. “And I know Frédéric Vasseur from my time in GP3 when I drove for his team, ART Grand Prix. We have always had a very good relationship and I look forward to building on this next year.”
The 20-year old believes that exciting times await the Swiss team as they begin their new title sponsorship with Alfa Romeo. He continued, “Having the new 2018-spec Ferrari engine in place will be a big boost for the team. The newly formed partnership with Alfa Romeo is also exciting news. In terms of my expectations and goals, I will work hard to support the team in developing the car during the season. My primary goal is to continue developing my skills as a driver, and to gain as much experience in Formula 1 as I can.”
Leclerc is obviously eager to get going and cannot wait for his first race in Australia at the end of March. He said that it felt absolutely amazing. For any racing driver, signing their first contract as a full-time driver in Formula 1 is a dream come true. He added that he was keen to learn from his more experienced team mate.
Leclerc said, “It has been quite easy to get to know Marcus. He is going into his fifth season in Formula 1 and I can definitely learn from him. Especially in terms of all of the new procedures which I am currently getting used to. My main expectation and goal for the season in terms of our cooperation is that we work together constructively. [We must] provide the team with as much feedback as possible to develop the car in the right direction, so that we can both have a satisfying season.”