Formula One

Leclerc: Nothing prepares you for losing a parent


Losing a parent is tough, and dealing with grief can be a bumpy road with some unexpected turns as Charles Leclerc experienced at the height of his development as a young F2 driver in 2017.

In a new book titled ‘Le prodige’ and written by French journalist Remi Boudoul that chronicles Leclerc’s relentless rise to F1 and to success, the Monegasque remembers his father Hervé, a racer in his own right, who guided his impassioned son through his formative years in motorsport by teaching him everything he knew.

While talent is ingrained, maturity is instilled through experience. And Leclerc’s growth and development as a young racer were undeniably fast-tracked by two personal tragedies endured by the Monegasque: the death of his surrogate ‘big brother’ Jules Bianchi in 2015 and the passing of his father just two years later.

Both are sorely missed by the Ferrari driver who relied on their support and guidance to advance on his journey to the pinnacle of motorsport.

Hervé Leclerc passed away in 2017 after losing a long battle to illness, just days before a round of the FIA Formula 2 Championship in Baku.

In a display of extraordinary fortitude, his son temporarily set aside the personal trauma and responded that weekend with pole position and a win in the feature race.

“After Jules’ death, the disappearance of my father who had always followed me was a second shock. It was tough,” recalled the Monegasque.

“There’s nothing that can prepare you for the moment you lose your father.”

However, what emerged from the tragedy and emotional crisis endured by Charles Leclerc that week was a decisive step towards manhood.

“I have become more mature, because his loss has made me more responsible, growing as a man. Mentally I became stronger than ever. Losing your father so early in life is something that changes you forever.”

Leclerc admits that he never considered not racing that weekend in Azerbaijan. It would not have been what his father would have wanted.

“My father was my number one fan,” he said. “He wanted me to be strong in every race.

“I was sure he wanted me to be there and win for him, even if it was the worst way to prepare for a GP.”

Five months later, as he stood tall on the final podium of the F2 season at Yas Marina, his title signed and sealed, a proud 19-year-old Leclerc dedicated his achievement to his father.

“It was a way to thank him for everything he had done until that moment, and luckily I had the chance to do that,” he said.

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Leclerc: Nothing prepares you for losing a parent

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