Charles Leclerc says his all-time favourite helmet design is the one he ran at last year’s French Grand Prix featuring photographs of his father Hervé and Jules Bianchi.
The Ferrari driver debuted his emotional tribute to two “super important” people, two who are sadly also no longer with him.
Leclerc’s godfather Bianchi died in 2015, the Marussia Formula 1 driver succumbing to the injuries he suffered when he crashed at the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix.
Two years later Leclerc also lost his father, Hervé passing away in June 2017 weeks prior to his son signing his first Formula 1 contract with the Sauber team.
They both featured on his 2022 French Grand Prix, which the driver rates as his favourite.
“Probably the one used in France,” he told Gazzetta dello Sport, ” with the reproduction on the two halves of the photographs of my father Hervé and Jules Bianchi.
“Two super important people for me who are no longer with us.
“The creation of the helmets is a joint effort between myself and Adrien Paviot, a very good designer.”
That helmet was not the first time Leclerc carried something reminding him of his family while racing, the Monégasque driver revealing he used to race with a good luck charm sewn into his race suit by his late grandmother.
“I had some as a kid,” he said. “My grandmother always used to sew a cross inside my overalls, under the sponsors’ logos, but that tradition has disappeared since she is no longer here.”
In the wide-ranging interview that also included his views on fashion and his thoughts on being a role model, he was asked about past comments from MotoGP rider Valentino Rossi about F1 being “faster” than one would think.
Leclerc said: “A nice definition, because it is difficult for a normal person to think about the speed of a F1 car.
“I always make the comparison with a rollercoaster. It’s like being up there, but keeping everything under control.”
Leclerc could do with a good luck charm this season
Having watched on, and it must be said played a part himself, as his title quest imploded last season, a good luck charm may be just what Leclerc needs ahead of the upcoming season.
Could new team boss Fred Vasseur be just that?
Leclerc has a history with Vasseur having raced for ART Grand Prix in the GP3, the team founded by the Frenchman, before Vasseur signed him to the Sauber F1 team in 2018.
This season they’ll team up once again, this time chasing the biggest prize of them all: the F1 World Championship.
The team is said to be quietly confident, having not only reduced the weight of their 2023 car but also finding extra power and better reliability with their engine.
But after last year’s disappointments, Leclerc undone by reliability and strategy errors, it’s anyone’s guess as to which Ferrari – the ‘spaghetti culture’ one or the one that thrives under a French team boss – will take to the grid.
Read more: Five key questions facing Frédéric Vasseur as new Ferrari team boss
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