Brawn puts Leclerc at head of new post-Alonso F1 generation

Charles Leclerc (MON) Ferrari SF71H. 28.11.2018. Formula 1 Testing
© XPB 

Formula 1's director of motorsports Ross Brawn says that he's excited to see a new generation of motor racing talent about to come to the fore in 2019.

While lamenting the loss of big established stars of the sport such as Fernando Alonso, Brawn felt that the arrival of a new wave of bright young things would be a welcome injection of new blood.

Most notably, Brawn felt that Ferrari's uncharacteristically rapid promotion of Charles Leclerc to a full-time seat at Maranello after just a single season in F1 at Sauber was proof of an exciting season in store.

“Leclerc has been pretty impressive,” Brawn told the website this week.

"Being at Ferrari brings enormous pressure," he added, aware that Leclerc will have to quickly prove himself against his new team mate Sebastian Vettel.

"He’s not had a tough reference yet," Brawn pointed out. "That will come in 2019.

"He’ll have the pressure of racing against a world champion, a multi-world champion, so he’s going to have a pretty challenging year.

"But from what I have seen so far, I expect him to do a very respectable job."

Pierre Gasly also gets a promotion to a Big Three team after just a single season in a junior team, while Antonio Giovinazzi finally gets a shot to prove himself at Sauber after making two appearances for the team in 2017.

Three young Formula 2 will also be making their bow on the F1 stage when the new season gets underway in Melbourne with the Australian Grand Prix on March 17.

"We have lost Fernando Alonso, but we have Leclerc being put into Ferrari, Gasly in at Red Bull, and George Russell, Lando Norris and Alexander Albon stepping up," Brawn commented. "There’s a lot of interesting stuff going on."

Asked which of them would be the one to shine brightest in 2019, Brawn was quick to reply: "I think Leclerc is probably at the head of that generation.”

Compared to the new influx of drivers, Daniil Kvyat could almost be considered an old hand. But despite being a veteran of 72 Grand Prix races with Toro Rosso and Red Bull, the Russian is still only 24 as he prepares to return to the grid after a one-year hiatus on the sidelines.

At the other end of the age spectrum, another 2019 returnee Robert Kubica turned 34 last week. He'll be back on the grid with Williams next year after more than eight years out of F1 following his 2011 rally crash.

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