Ferrari Junior Charles Leclerc Hopes To Land F1 Seat In 2018

Runaway Formula 2 leader Charles Leclerc hopes to make the step up to Formula 1 in 2018, but claims he knows nothing about Ferrari's plans for him.

The Ferrari junior has been hotly tipped for a seat at Sauber next year, following their renewed engine deal with the Scuderia, and drove for them for the first time in Practice One at the Malaysia GP.

"The goal is to get a seat in F1 next year so I need to push in Formula 2, try to get the most experience in the four FP1s I do this year [Malaysia, USA, Mexico and Brazil] and be best prepared for next year if I get to be in F1," Leclerc said in Sepang.

"My ambition is to one day be in Formula 1 and hopefully become world champion. At the moment it is about experience.

"I've been told nothing special [about next year]. For now Ferrari and [manager] Nicolas [Todt] are speaking a lot. They don't really want me to be involved for now, they want me to focus on Formula 2 and I'm very happy about that.

"To be honest I don't want to know much. I have a goal to win Formula 2 this year and anything that comes after will come. I'm sure that Ferrari and Nicolas will work as hard as possible for me to have the best place in 2018."

Leclerc holds a 59-point advantage at the top of Formula 2 in his debut season and can wrap up the championship this weekend in Jerez.

Speaking on the F1 Report over the summer, Jordan King thought that his F2 rival and current Championship leader Charles Leclerc is the most likely to make the step up to F1.
Speaking on the F1 Report over the summer, Jordan King thought that his F2 rival and current Championship leader Charles Leclerc is the most likely to make the step up to F1.

The past two GP2/Formula 2 champions, Stoffel Vandoorne and Pierre Gasly, have spent the following season racing in Super Formula but the 19-year-old Monegasque driver is hopeful of skipping that step in his development.

"I would prefer not to go to Japan to be honest," he said. "We will see what the opportunities are at the end of this year and hopefully I don't have to go to Japan."

Leclerc has a burgeoning reputation given his rise through the junior formulas and four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel said earlier this year the teenager was ready to make the step up to F1.

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While Leclerc admits he was "honoured" by Vettel's comments, he insists he is not worried about the expectations and doesn't feel he needs to prove anything in his sessions with Sauber.

"I don't think about it. I'm really focusing on my job and just doing the best I can do and hopefully that will be enough," he said.

"[On Friday] I just wanted to get the most mileage possible. I didn't want to prove anything to anybody, I'm doing a championship in F2 and that is where I need to prove myself. This is just about understanding the car, getting prepared and getting the most out of the car.

"I don't really feel pressure. This is something I've learnt in recent years. I just need to give the best of myself and work on myself. I'm pretty sure if I do the right job on track then the rest will come."

Leclerc drove for Ferrari at the Hungary in-season test in August, setting the fastest time on the first day, and has been tipped as a replacement for Kimi Raikkonen in 2019 but he is not looking too far ahead.

"Anyone who has the chance to drive for Ferrari will drive for Ferrari. For now I'm focusing on this year in Formula 2, then I'll focus on next year and then we'll see for 2019. I'll do my best to be at the top as soon as possible."

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