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Charles Leclerc

Leclerc opens up on impact of 'best mentor's' tragic passing

Charles Leclerc lost his father when he was just 17 years old and competing in Formula 2.

Leclerc Monaco
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Charles Leclerc has revealed that a key impact of his father's tragic passing in 2017 was that he suddenly grew up "faster", with his father having been a "mentor" to him. 

Leclerc's father sadly passed away following a long period of illness just four days before the Ferrari driver won the Formula 2 Baku feature race.

Two days before Hervé Leclerc's death, his son told him that he had signed an F1 contract for 2018. Staggeringly, this was a lie, as Sauber actually signed the 26-year-old a month later.

Upon winning the recent Monaco Grand Prix, Leclerc's father was immediately on his mind, given how much was sacrificed to make his racing career possible. 

On a recently aired episode of the On Purpose Podcast with Jay Shetty, which was recorded in late-2023, Leclerc opened up on the impact of losing his father at such a young age.

"I think it's made me grow faster," said Leclerc. "I lost my father in 2017, so I was obviously very young. And at this time of your career or your life, you need that person that helps you grow as a man. 

"And also as a driver, because he was basically my best mentor. He was also a driver himself back in the day. So obviously, he was helping me with all his experience throughout the years that he learned in racing. 

"And to lose him at that age made me an adult much, much faster. Because you get to manage your own things much earlier. Before that I was just a kid, he will just bring me to the races. 

"I will do what I love the most, which is driving, then flights, organisation planning that was all on my father. And he was doing that perfectly. And he sacrificed a lot for me to get here."

Family togetherness

As pointed out by Leclerc, his father's death came when he was at an age where teenagers typically clash with their parents. 

Leclerc was no different, but with his mother and younger brother to think about following the death of his father, the Ferrari star had to grow up. 

Amongst the Leclerc family's grief, losing Hervé brought them all closer together, although suddenly not having his father around did not come natural to the six-time F1 race winner. 

"But then at one point, from one day to the other, there's not your father anymore," Leclerc continued. "And you need to take all of these things in hand. 

"I've got my younger brother, also my older brother, he's 10 years older than me. So he was already an adult in a way, but my younger brother was three years younger than me and I had to take care of my mother as well. 

"So all of these things is not something that comes natural when you are 17 or 18 years old. It took some time to get used to it. But I think we all got much closer in the family after that. 

"It was a difficult moment as well to lose my father because I think I was in the age of around 14 to 19 where you're always clashing a little bit with your parents. After that I think it got us all together much, much closer than before."

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