MARINA BAY, Singapore — He may have just secured one of the hottest seats in Formula One but Charles Leclerc insists he feels no pressure ahead of his big-time move from Sauber to Ferrari.
Ferrari announced last week that Leclerc would partner Sebastian Vettel in 2019 with Kimi Raikkonen to fill the vacant seat left at Sauber. Leclerc, a former GP3 and Formula 2 champion, was a highly-touted youngster and has impressed enormously during his debut season, outscoring his more experienced teammate Marcus Ericsson in the process.
When asked how he will handle the added pressure of racing for the sport’s most celebrated team, the 20-year-old claimed he simply isn’t fazed by it.
“I can see that a lot of people think I will have a lot more pressure on my shoulders, but to be honest I don’t feel the pressure,” Leclerc said ahead of the Singapore Grand Prix. “I have a mentality that is really taking off all of the pressure and I believe if I do the right job in the car and if I work in the right way then the performances will be there.”
Leclerc’s signing has been met with a mixed response as many feel he is still too young and inexperienced to step into a team like Ferrari. However, one person to rubbish that suggestion was soon-to-be teammate and four-time world champion Vettel.
“If you are fast and talented then the age doesn’t matter. I think age is not relevant,” Vettel said. “He deserves to be in F1 and it’s great that he gets the opportunity to race in a big team. We will see, we will do our best to welcome him and we want to work together as a team.”
Leclerc himself also feels ready and has started to set some lofty goals for next year, all while staying fully aware of what could happen should he fail.
“I’m not going to Ferrari to learn. I think I’ve had a very good season this year where I could learn the most of it and next year is to perform in a big team,” Leclerc said. “This year they have a car to win the title and if next year is the same [the objective] will be to win the title.
“I think that if you are good enough in one seat, then you are good enough. If next year I don’t have the results good enough to stay in Ferrari then it will be normal that I downgrade but then I don’t deserve a Ferrari seat.”