Japanese Grand Prix – Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc says that, despite loving the Suzuka circuit, the memory of Jules Bianchi will always overshadow the event.
Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc says the memory of the late Jules Bianchi and his accident at Suzuka will always hang over the Japanese Grand Prix. Bianchi, who was Leclerc’s godfather and was a constant presence through Leclerc’s childhood and early racing career, passed away in mid-2015. This was months after he suffering catastrophic head injuries after a crash during the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix when he lost control of his Marussia and collided with a recovery vehicle.
The fifth anniversary of that accident was marked earlier this week, and Leclerc said the memory of that and driving past the corner where it happened means he will always associate the tragedy with this particular weekend of racing: “Japan is a very special place for us to race, particularly because of the local fans. They are so passionate and always show us a lot of support, which makes the experience there so unique.”
“It was a difficult weekend for me last year, being in Suzuka for the first time since Jules’ accident. Obviously, it is a very sad memory that I will always associate with this Grand Prix.”
Just like teammate Sebastian Vettel, Leclerc says that he loves driving the circuit due to its variety of corner types: “The track itself is very technical and demanding. It is one of the best to drive on in terms of its layout. It features high speed straights mixed with various corner combinations and the hairpin, all of which make it the iconic circuit that it is. It has different characteristics to the last few tracks we have raced on, so we will see how our recent developments will work there, especially in terms of the aerodynamics.”