Bianchi tragedy never incited Leclerc to stop racing


Charles Leclerc says the tragic accident that befell his mentor and soul brother Jules Bianchi in 2014 never steered him away from his dream of racing in Formula 1.

Leclerc rose through karting's ranks with the unwavering support of Bianchi, who was eight years older than his young protégé and the young charger's Godfather.

By the time the Monegasque switched to cars, Bianchi had successfully worked his way up the motorsport ladder, entered Ferrari's Driver Academy and was undertaking his first formative year in F1 with the minnow Marussia outfit.

Alas, a crash in the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix left the young hopeful with severe head injuries and in a coma. Bianchi died nine months later in July 2015.

"There was definitely no thoughts any time to stop my career because of that," Leclerc said in an exclusive interview with BBC F1 correspondent Andrew Benson.

"From the beginning when you go into this sport, you know how dangerous it is. It will never be a safe sport.

"Of course, the cars are getting safer and safer but, when you are going at 340km/h, it can never be safe.

"This I knew from the start. And I just wanted then to be good for him because he had taught me many things.

"He had always pushed me forward and helped me to get better, and the only thought I had when this happened was just to do good for him to make him proud."


From the heavens above, Bianchi - and also Leclerc's father Hervé who passed away unexpectedly in 2017 - must feel a sense of pride as they watch Charles' impressive career unfold.

While both men inspired the Ferrari driver to chase his dreams, they also instilled the sense of humility that naturally emanates from Leclerc's persona.

They told him he had talent, but they also convinced him that it would amount to nothing without hard work.

"Keep your feet on the ground and keep working," was their message to the aspiring champion.

"I am pretty sure it [his humility] comes from them," he said.

"I don't think I've ever been arrogant or anything like that, so it's also a bit natural.

"I honestly believe it is the way forward. But the fact they kept telling it to me, I think it has helped me."

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