The late Jules Bianchi was a Ferrari star in the making before the tragic accident at Suzuka. Ferrari’s current young talent Charles Leclerc has admitted to missing the guidance from his fellow countryman.
Leclerc had a smooth first outing with the Ferrari team at the Silverstone testing. He managed the 4th fastest time in just 19 laps of running. The Frenchman, who leads the GP3 championship, has admitted that he is missing the guidance that Jules Bianchi would have given him for his first serious F1 test.
Bianchi was himself a member of the Ferrari academy, and Leclerc was a good friend. The 18-year-old reminisced on the relationship he had with Bianchi,
“I knew him from when I was really, really young.
He was my godfather and he helped me with most of things in racing. Obviously now it’s hard without him because he always helped me, and I miss his help.
He advised me really well in the past, and all his comments he gave me in the past I keep in mind and try not to make the errors he told me not to do.”
– Charles Leclerc
Leclerc shares the opinion of many that whilst the Ferrari Academy hasn’t yet promoted one of their members into a Ferrari race seat, Jules Bianchi would have been the first. The Frenchman was never given the time to show us his potential. But his racing with the Marussia (now Manor Racing) proved that he was a mature driver with a great deal of natural talent.
“Jules was one of the talents who would have gone there if the things that happened hadn’t have happened.
But I’m definitely confident the driver academy will have someone who will make it into the top team.”
– Charles Leclerc
Whatever Bianchi’s advice to Laclerc was is clearly working, the young Frenchman has surpassed the expectations of Haas in a practice session already and looked comfortable in the twitchy Ferrari SF16-T during the test. Nonetheless, he misses his godfather greatly.