Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc is widely regarded as one of the most promising drivers on the circuit, but the manner in which he entered the sport is perhaps a little contentious.
He initially started off at Sauber back in 2018 after finding success in GP3 and F2 with successive titles.
Soon into his Sauber stint, he earned a promotion to Ferrari.
He seemed to have a realistic chance of challenging Max Verstappen for the world championship in the early part of the 2022 season, but reliability issues and some poor strategical calls meant he eventually had to settle for a distant second to the Dutchman.
Although there is no denying Leclerc’s ability behind the wheels, it is interesting to know that it was a lie that got him into the team in the first place.
Monaco and F1 are almost synonymous. The Grand Prix that is held there is a big part of the identity of the city and it is almost like everything comes to a standstill during the week that the F1 teams enter the city.
It does, of course, make it an even more inclusive race weekend given that the Grand Prix is conducted on the street circuit in Monte Carlo.
Having grown up in Monaco, it is easy to assume that Leclerc’s love for F1 stems from the pulse of the city, but this isn’t exactly true.
“Strangely, not really. I tried karting extremely young when I was just three-and-a-half. I was very very young, it’s good memories,” Leclerc said back in 2018.
“But it was quite random, to be honest. I didn’t want to go to school that day. I didn’t want to go there, so I told my father I was ill, which was absolutely not the case.
“But, he believed it, fortunately for me. And he was going to see his best friend, Philip Bianchi, the father of Jules, on the race track and I tried karting there for the first time and fell in love straightaway with the sport.
“And that’s how I got involved in racing. But before that, actually, I was not really interested in it.”
Jules Bianchi is one of F1’s saddest stories. A driver of supreme skill eventually lost his life due to a tragic crash during the Japanese Grand Prix in 2014.
Bianchi is Leclerc’s godfather and was a close friend of his dad.
Jules Bianchi was also Charles’ godfather. Bianchi lost his life in 2015 after he crashed into a recovery vehicle while racing in the 2014 Japanese GP.
Bianchi’s name is held in high esteem across the motorsport world and his family honours him through an annual charity gala.
It did not run during the pandemic, but made its comeback this month, thereby accruing a sum of $97,921 through sale of memorabilia.
Leclerc was also part of the proceedings, as one might expect.
Charles parted with his crash helmet, a signed cap, and a racing suit for the auction.
The Jules Bianchi Association thanked all its well-wishers following the event.
“Thank you to all the people who attended the live auction, Charles Leclerc and the Scuderia Ferrari for their lots, the chef Alain Llorca and all the artists for making the event even more special,” it said on Instagram.