Monaco Grand Prix followers who’re from the principality have turn into accustomed to watching considered one of their very own, Charles Leclerc of Ferrari, who was born in Monaco, compete within the race.
At this yr’s occasion, there can 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 recollections 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,” mentioned Charles. “F2 is the final step earlier than F1, so if he does nicely, he can dream of the largest issues to obtain.”
Arthur has progressed to Formula 2 5 years after beginning his single-seater profession, following just a few 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 stage Formula 3 championships beginning within the Eighties. He died in 2017.
Arthur mentioned they might watch Grands Prix at house 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 buddies, 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, each time there was a weekend or a Wednesday afternoon after faculty,” mentioned Charles. “We’d kart with Jules; my older brother [Lorenzo]; Jules’ brother, Tom; Arthur; and another buddies, and that is still the perfect recollections 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 larger stage,” Arthur mentioned.
The household’s selection, to assist Charles’ profession financially the place they might, was a choice that Arthur accepted however nonetheless discovered robust to take. He returned to racing in his teenagers when his father “managed to discover a bit of cash” for some entries, and he received the Kart Racing Academy title in 2014, however he nonetheless solely competed often.
But in late 2017, his household organized for him to do a one-day Formula 4 check with the junior staff 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 rather well.”
“I felt already fairly comfy 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, received a number of races and was in an in depth title struggle in 2022 however completed sixth.
“I used to be missing a little bit of expertise in my first yr,” Arthur mentioned. “All final yr 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 would not mirror the championship, however that is how it’s.”
He then moved to Formula 2 for the 2023 season, with the DAMS staff, and he’s now in seventh place within the race for the championship, with one end on the rostrum.
“I’m completely happy and not completely happy, I believe we will do higher,” Arthur mentioned. “The constructive level is the consistency, now we have improved massively the consistency, now we have completed most races within the factors, however then when it comes to pure efficiency, we wish to be a bit extra aggressive.”
This yr, 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 at all times attempt to be useful. On the opposite hand, I need him to develop alone on this sport, as it is the method that my father had for me. I believe it was one thing that was crucial and that has helped me quite a bit, so I’m attempting to have an analogous method in the direction of him. But he is aware of that he can name me each time and ask me no matter, and I’ll at all times be right here for him.”
The brothers typically 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 completely different story each time my brother is there, as a result of I then notice that issues can go mistaken typically, and if you’ve acquired anyone you’re keen on inside that automotive then, in fact, it is a completely different feeling.”
It is identical together with his brother.
“I’m much more nervous once I watch his races than mine,” he mentioned. “In the automotive you’re controlling your self, it is you who controls your personal future. When I see him driving and battling actually shut, there’s clearly a number of stress.”
The objective 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 objective no. 1.”