Monaco Grand Prix followers who’re from the principality have turn into accustomed to watching one in every of their very own, Charles Leclerc of Ferrari, who was born in Monaco, compete within the race.
At this 12 months’s occasion, there will likely be two locals, as Arthur Leclerc, Charles’ youthful brother, races there in Formula 2 on Saturday.
“It’s a observe the place I used to be going actually younger with my mother and father,” Arthur mentioned. “I’ve actually early reminiscences in Monaco once I was wanting at Formula 1, and my solely dream was to be of their place and to drive in Formula 1 in Monaco. I’m not driving in Formula 1, I’m driving in Formula 2, nevertheless it’s a dream come true. It’s thrilling.”
Arthur, 22, is the youthful brother of Charles, 25, who drives for Ferrari and was the runner-up for the 2022 drivers’ championship.
“I’ve been very impressed with how Arthur has developed as a driver,” Charles mentioned. “F2 is the final step earlier than F1, so if he does nicely, he can dream of the most important issues to obtain.”
Arthur has progressed to Formula 2 5 years after beginning his single-seater profession, following a number of years of karting as a teenager.
He and Charles had been steeped in motorsport from an early age, the fervour instilled by their father Hervé, who competed in nationwide degree Formula 3 championships beginning within the Eighties. He died in 2017.
Arthur mentioned they might watch Grands Prix at residence and would “go straight on the PlayStation on the Formula 1 sport to attempt and reproduce what [the drivers] had been doing.”
He additionally recalled driving to Brignoles, France, to the karting facility owned by household pals, the Bianchis. Jules Bianchi was the godfather of Charles and a Formula 1 driver who died in 2015 after a crash.
“We had been fairly often collectively, every time there was a weekend or a Wednesday afternoon after college,” Charles mentioned. “We’d kart with Jules; my elder brother [Lorenzo]; Jules’ brother, Tom; Arthur; and another pals, and that continues to be one of the best reminiscences that I’ve on this sport.”
Arthur began competing in karting at age 8 in France however solely occasionally.
“We did not actually have the cash to proceed,” he mentioned. “There was a selection, to go together with my brother [or] myself,” and his brother was chosen. “Charles was in a a lot greater degree,” Arthur mentioned.
The household’s selection, to help Charles’ profession financially the place they may, was a call that Arthur accepted however nonetheless discovered powerful to take. He returned to racing in his teenagers when his father “managed to discover a bit of cash” for some entries, and he gained the Kart Racing Academy title in 2014, however he nonetheless solely competed sometimes.
But in late 2017, his household organized for him to do a one-day Formula 4 check with the junior workforce Prema Racing at Adria International Raceway in Italy.
“If I did badly, then clearly I might have thought to do one thing else; if I used to be good, then possibly we might give [a career] a attempt,” Arthur mentioned. “I used to be shaking like loopy prior to this check, as I knew I had one shot to persuade them to proceed. It went very well.”
“I felt already fairly snug within the automotive, regardless of spending a lot time with out racing,” he remembered, including that, earlier than that day, his expertise driving racecars was “solely on pc video games.”
Arthur raced in French Formula 4 in 2018, its German counterpart in 2019, and in 2020, he joined Ferrari’s younger driver academy. He moved to Formula 3, gained a number of races and was in a detailed title battle in 2022 however completed sixth.
“I used to be missing a little bit of expertise in my first 12 months,” Arthur mentioned. “All final 12 months I used to be battling for the title, within the final race I may nonetheless win the championship, it was all determined in a single race. It was a disgrace that the championship completed like this, as one race does not replicate the championship, however that is how it’s.”
He then moved to Formula 2 for the 2023 season, with the DAMS workforce, and he’s now in seventh place within the race for the championship, with one end on the rostrum.
“I’m blissful and not blissful, I believe we are able to do higher,” Arthur mentioned. “The optimistic level is the consistency, we have now improved massively the consistency, we have now completed most races within the factors, however then by way of pure efficiency, we want to be a bit extra aggressive.”
This 12 months, as in seasons previous, the Formula 2 groups will race at Formula 1 tracks throughout Grand Prix weekends. The brothers share recommendation, significantly on circuit ideas or observe circumstances.
“I attempt not to give him an excessive amount of recommendation,” Charles mentioned, earlier than clarifying. “It’s not like I attempt not to give him recommendation, I all the time attempt to be useful. On the opposite hand, I would like him to develop alone on this sport, as it is the strategy that my father had for me. I believe it was one thing that was crucial and that has helped me lots, so I’m making an attempt to have an identical strategy in direction of him. But he is aware of that he can name me every time and ask me no matter, and I’ll all the time be right here for him.”
The brothers usually get anxious once they watch one another race.
“I’m rather more nervous when I’m watching Arthur racing than when I’m racing myself, simply because when I’m racing I do not take into consideration any of the hazards,” Charles mentioned. “It’s a really totally different story every time my brother is there, as a result of I then notice that issues can go incorrect generally, and while you’ve acquired someone you like inside that automotive then, after all, it is a totally different feeling.”
It is similar together with his brother.
“I’m much more nervous once I watch his races than mine,” he mentioned. “In the automotive you might be controlling your self, it is you who controls your individual future. When I see him driving and battling actually shut, there’s clearly loads of stress.”
The aim for Arthur is to make it into Formula 1.
“Since I used to be a child I’ve watched F1,” he mentioned, “so clearly it is aim No. 1.”