Charles Leclerc has taken to social media to celebrate the announcement that he will step up to the Ferrari team in 2019.
The young Monegasque star, currently driving in his rookie season with Sauber, was announced on Tuesday as being Kimi Raikkonen’s replacement at the Ferrari team.
With less than a year’s Formula 1 experience under his belt, he is Ferrari’s least experienced signing since Eddie Irvine was contracted to drive for the Scuderia in 1995 while in his second season of F1.
Taking to Twitter, Leclerc enthused: “Dreams do come true… I’ll be driving for
@scuderiaferrari for the 2019 Formula 1 World Championship. I will be eternally grateful to @scuderiaferrari for the opportunity given. To @nicolastodt for supporting me since 2011. To my family, [love]”
Leclerc has risen through the ranks of the Ferrari Young Driver Academy, winning the GP3 title in 2016 and the Formula 2 title in 2017 before stepping up to Sauber, Ferrari’s unofficial ‘B-Team’ in Formula 1. He follows in the footsteps of close friend Jules Bianchi – the French driver from Nice who suffered fatal head injuries in a crash at the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix.
Bianchi had been earmarked as Raikkonen’s replacement at Ferrari at the time, having been a similarly highly rated driver from the Ferrari Academy. Leclerc paid tribute to his friend and his late father: “To a person that is not part of this world anymore but to whom I owe everything of what is happening to me, Papa. To Jules, thank you for all the things you learnt [sic] me, we will never forget you, and to all the persons that supported me and believed in me, I will work harder than ever to not disappoint you. But first, there is a season to finish with an amazing team that gave me the opportunity to fight and show my potential. Let’s go
Thank you Jules. pic.twitter.com/jBpbdrRI43
— FerrariDriverAcademy (@insideFDA) September 11, 2018
Team boss of Sauber, Frederic Vasseur, said it had given the team great pleasure to help their young charge show his talents this year: “It has been a great pleasure to support Charles Leclerc in his rookie year in Formula One. Since his arrival, he has given the team great motivation. We have constantly improved and we will work hard until the end of this season to achieve the best possible results together. We are aware of Charles’ talent and are confident that he will have a bright future. We will keep on following him closely and we wish him the best on his path.”