Monegasque Grand Prix fans from the principality are used to seeing fellow Monaco-born Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc race.
This year’s event will feature two locals, with Charles’ brother Arthur Leclerc racing in Formula 2 on Saturday.
“This is the track I used to go to with my parents when I was little,” said Arthur. “I have early memories of watching F1 in Monaco and my only dream was to drive F1 in Monaco instead of them. It’s a dream come true.It’s very exciting.”
Arthur, 22, is the younger brother of Charles, 25, a Ferrari driver and runner-up in the 2022 Drivers’ Championship.
“I’ve been very impressed with how Arthur has developed as a driver,” said Charles. “F2 is the last step before F1, so hopefully he can dream of the biggest things to achieve.”
After a few years in karting in his youth, Arthur made his way into Formula 2 five years after starting his single-seater career.
He and Charles were immersed in motorsport from an early age, a passion instilled by their father, Herve, who had competed in national-level Formula 3 championships since the 1980s. He passed away in 2017.
Watching the Grand Prix at home, Arthur said he was “trying to recreate what it is by playing the F1 game directly on the PlayStation”. [the drivers] I was doing “
He also recalled driving to Brignoles, France, to a karting facility owned by family friends Mr. and Mrs. Bianchi. Jules Bianchi was Charles’ godfather and F1 driver who died in an accident in 2015.
“We were together a lot on weekends and after school on Wednesday afternoons,” Charles said. “We rode in carts with Jules. My brother [Lorenzo]Jules’ younger brother, Tom; Arthur. And my memories with some of my other friends remain some of my best memories of the sport. “
Arthur started competing in karting in France at the age of eight, but he competed infrequently.
“We really didn’t have the funds to continue,” he said. “I had the option of going with his brother.” [or] Myself ”and his brother was chosen. “Charles was on a much higher level,” said Arthur.
The family’s choice to financially support Charles’ career as much as possible was a decision Arthur accepted, but still a difficult one to accept. He returned to racing as a teenager and won the Kart Racing Academy title in 2014, as his father ‘fought the money’ for an entry, but still made only occasional appearances.
But in late 2017, his family arranged for a one-day F4 test with junior team Prema Racing at Italy’s Adria International Raceway.
“If I did poorly, obviously I would have thought of doing something else. If I did well, I might give [a career] Try it,’ said Arthur. “Before this test, I was trembling like crazy because I knew I had one chance to convince them to continue.
“I was already quite comfortable in the car, even though I had gone so long without racing,” he recalled, adding that until that day his experience of driving a race car had been “only in computer games. he added.
Arthur raced in French F4 in 2018, German F4 in 2019 and joined Ferrari’s Young Drivers Academy in 2020. He moved to Formula 3, won several races and was in contention for the title in 2022, finishing sixth.
“I was a little inexperienced in my first year,” said Arthur. “Last year we were fighting for the title all the time and in the last race we still had a chance to win the championship, but it all came down to one race. It’s a shame it ended like this, but that’s the reality.”
After that, he entered Formula 2 with the DAMS team for the 2023 season, and is currently in 7th place in the championship battle, with one podium finish.
“I’m happy, I’m not happy,” said Arthur. “I think we can do better.” “The positives are the consistency. We improved our consistency a lot and finished most of the races in the points, but we would like to be a bit more competitive in terms of pure performance. “
This year, as in previous seasons, the F2 teams will race on the F1 track during the Grand Prix weekend. The brothers share their advice, especially on circuit tips and track conditions.
“I try not to give him much advice,” Charles said before stating. “It’s not that I don’t give him advice, I always try to be helpful. On the other hand, I inherited this sport from my father, so I want him to grow even by himself. That’s very important. I try to take the same approach with him because it was a big deal and I think it helped me a lot, but he can always call me and ask me anything. I know, and I will always be here for him.”
Siblings often get uneasy when they watch each other race.
“I’m more nervous watching Arthur race than I am when I’m racing, because when I’m racing I don’t think about danger,” Charles said. rice field. “When my brother is there, it’s a whole different story, because I understand that sometimes things can go wrong. It will be the feeling of
The same goes for his brother.
“Watching him race makes me a lot more nervous than mine,” he said. “You control yourself in the car, you control your own future. When you see him driving and fighting up close, he’s clearly a big man. I am stressed.”
Arthur’s goal is to enter F1.
“I’ve been watching Formula 1 since I was a kid,” he said, “so obviously that’s the number one goal.”