Leclerc’s F1 Journey: The Heartfelt Lie and a Son’s Tribute to His Late Father

Charles Leclerc lost his father just before making it to Formula One.

Days before he passed away in 2017, Charles Leclerc told his father, Herve, a lie that left him tormented. Herve just survived to see his son win back-to-back Formula Three and Formula Two titles before passing away at the age of 54 following a protracted illness.

When his father passed away, Leclerc was just months away from agreeing to sign his first Formula One contract with Sauber. Though that’s not entirely accurate, the young Monegasque told his father that he had previously written something down.

It materialized a month later when Sauber acquired Leclerc, who was then elevated to Ferrari the following year. Before his spot on the F1 grid was officially confirmed, Leclerc acknowledged that the lie he had told his father before his death had plagued him for weeks.

In an interview with the On Purpose podcast, Leclerc said, “I regret not having signed my Formula One contract, which was the ultimate aim for our family because he passed away a year before I got into Formula One. It was really painful.”

Really, if you want to pursue a career in racing, Formula One is the place to be. You should be there one day, but two days before he died, I gave him a falsehood, saying, “Listen, I signed my Formula One deal.

The year was starting off nicely. I knew it would only be a matter of days before he passed away, but I was also pretty certain that this would occur. And I recall that when I told my mother about it that evening, she became quite upset with me and told me not to lie to my father.

I thought about that for months. Luckily, a month later, I signed my contract. When he left, I was able to find a lot more inner peace because I could admit to myself that I hadn’t lied to my father. I was honest with him; I had expected things, and everything turned out fine.

That was a great moment because, as I mentioned before, every driver’s ultimate objective is to be in Formula One. It was hard to accept that he would leave without knowing what was ahead of him, but I believe he would be really proud.

After winning the Monaco Grand Prix for the first time last weekend, Leclerc gave a moving tribute to his father. With Louis Chiron winning the checkered flag in 1931, he became the first driver in nearly a century to win his home race on the streets of Monte-Carlo.

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