Charles Leclerc

Getty Images

Haas wary of taking on Ferrari F1 juniors in race seats

Leave a comment

Gene Haas is wary of hiring a junior driver from a larger Formula 1 operation for his eponymous team, believing it “doesn’t really make a lot of sense” from a business perspective to do so.

NASCAR team co-owner Haas hit the F1 grid in 2016 with Romain Grosjean and Esteban Gutierrez in seats, the latter being replaced by Kevin Magnussen for 2017.

Haas F1 Team enjoys close ties with Ferrari, and has given track time to its two leading juniors – Charles Leclerc and Antonio Giovinazzi (pictured) – in the past, leading to speculation they could take a full-time race seat in the future.

Haas has already confirmed that Grosjean and Magnussen will continue through 2018, and explained his caution over hiring a junior from another team on business grounds.

“I don’t think we rule it out, but from a business model it doesn’t really make a lot of sense,” Haas said.

“There’s no secret that it costs $60 million to put a car on the track for the season and if someone gives you a driver and not just from Ferrari, from anybody, and they’re going to pay you five or six million dollars, there’s $55 million deficit there somewhere.

“So it doesn’t really make sense to want to run let’s say a partner or a paid driver for compensation. I think our point of view has always been that we need to obtain points and that’s how we generate moving forward and making money.

“So that’s our business model. I think Ferrari respects that and based on that, if there’s some mutual agreement that we could come to we probably would be more open to that.”

Sauber: Too early to make call on 2018 F1 seat for Leclerc

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Sauber Formula 1 chief Frederic Vasseur believes it is too early to make a decision on a 2018 race seat for Ferrari youngster Charles Leclerc despite his domination of the Formula 2 championship so far this season.

Leclerc, 19, won last year’s GP3 title before moving up to F2 where he currently enjoys a 59-point lead over nearest rival Oliver Rowland.

The Monegasque racer is widely tipped to move up to F1 next year with Sauber, the Swiss team having signed a technical partnership with Ferrari for 2018.

Leclerc is expected to take part in some free practice sessions towards the end of this season for Sauber, but team boss Vasseur thinks it is too early to make any firm decisions about a race seat.

“The [Ferrari] deal is based on the powertrain, which means it’s the engine and the gearbox and then we will discuss together the fact that we could extend the deal on another parameter for some other parts,” Vasseur said.

“On the driver point of view, I think that if it’s regarding Charles for example, I think he has to be focused on the Formula 2 championship, still a couple of races to go and it’s a bit too early to discuss about this.

“I hope we will have the discussion at some stage. But I think, to be honest, even for Charles, it’s a bit too early to put it on the table.”

Sauber currently races with Marcus Ericsson and Pascal Wehrlein in F1, with the latter expected to depart at the end of the season given his ties to Ferrari’s biggest rival, Mercedes.

Sette Camara wins Spa F2 sprint race, Leclerc extends points lead

FIA Formula 2
Leave a comment

Sergio Sette Camara picked up his first race win since go-karting in Sunday’s FIA Formula 2 sprint race at Spa-Francorchamps as Charles Leclerc extended his championship points lead by charging from 19th to fifth.

Camara made a rocket start from third place on the reverse grid to take the lead at La Source, and retained his advantage over the pack to the end of the race.

McLaren junior Nyck de Vries leapt from fourth to second to finish ahead of Luca Ghiotto and Norman Nato, but it was Leclerc who stole the show.

The Ferrari youngster started at the back of the field after his race win on Saturday was scratched for a technical infringement, but he wasted little time in making up positions, taking four places in the opening sector.

A brave pass at the bottom of Eau Rouge was the highlight of his charge that also saw him overhaul title rival Oliver Rowland following a tight battle through the first sector.

Leclerc ditched Rowland and battled his way up to fifth place, with his hopes of climbing any higher being dashed by a late safety car period following a huge smash for Nobuharu Matsushita at the top of Raidillon.

The crash resulted in the race finishing behind the safety car, with Sette Camara leading the field home for his first win in professional car racing.

Leclerc’s points lead over Rowland in the championship stands at 59 points with three double-header rounds remaining this season, with the paddock meeting again at Monza next weekend.

Leclerc, Rowland disqualified from Saturday F2 race in Spa

Photo: Zak Mauger/FIA Formula 2.
Leave a comment

Charles Leclerc and Oliver Rowland have been disqualified from Saturday’s first of two Formula 2 races this weekend at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, which costs Leclerc another win after another dominant performance.

Per the series, both drivers’ cars failed post-race scrutineering due to excessive wear to the underfloor plank.

The disqualification promotes Artem Markelov to the victory over Russian Time teammate Luca Ghiotto.

Further information from the series is below.

F2 coverage from Spa airs on Sunday morning, at 6 a.m. ET, on NBCSN.

Leclerc admits surprise over Formula 2 results in 2017

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Charles Leclerc has admitted he is surprised by his domination of the FIA Formula 2 championship through 2017, but is refusing to relent in his bid to step up to Formula 1 in the near future.

Leclerc, 19, stepped up to F2 for 2017 after winning the GP3 title last year, and has swept the competition away so far this season with five race wins and six pole positions to open up a 50-point lead at the top of the championship standings.

The Monegasque racer recently tested an F1 car for Ferrari and has been linked with a drive at Sauber for 2018, but does not feel any extra pressure despite the speculation surrounding him.

“The results in this first part of the season have been better than expected and we’re clearly delighted about that,” Leclerc told the official F1 website.

“Seeing my name in the media more often and having it linked to Formula 1 and Ferrari is nice, but it’s not putting any extra pressure on me.

“There’s never a day goes by when I don’t think about what I want to achieve and I always give a hundred percent to get there.

“Being in Formula 1 is my dream and my goal and I am doing everything I can to make it happen.”

While Leclerc is being touted as a future Ferrari driver, he is remaining focused on the job at hand: winning the F2 title in 2017.

“Yes, it’s true, racing for the Scuderia would be the realization of a dream,” Leclec said.

“But for now I have to focus solely on winning in F2, on giving it my all over the next few months.

“If I don’t succeed, then I won’t really go much further.”