Before Charles Leclerc was named to be a driver for the Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team, he talked with the Paddock magazine about Monaco, the competition and sticking to his regime.
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Being from Monaco, it’s fairly natural that you’ve been in some contact with Formula 1, but why did you choose to become a driver?
My father was a racing driver. One day I’ve tried karting and, to be honest, I fell in love with the sport instantly. I liked it so much that I knew that’s what I wanted to do in life, but apart from that there wasn’t a particular reason to go into Formula 1. It’s just a sport that I admire.
There are now several young drivers who are very good in Formula 1, like Verstappen and Ocon; how would you rate yourself among those?
It’s difficult to rate yourself compared to them because we’ve never raced each other in single-seaters. I’ve raced a lot against them in karting and we were all very close. However, we’ve grown a lot. It’s very important how you grow in these and similar sports; if one day I have the chance to have a car that’s equal to theirs, it would be interesting to see how much progress we’ve all made. For now, it’s really exciting for me to see them doing well in Formula 1.
Charles, what are the main differences that you’ve found between your Formula 2 ride and the Formula 1 car you’ve tested?
The two cars are completely different, especially this year – Formula 1 cars have much more downforce. They also have a bit more power, but the downforce level is just incredible compared to let’s say a Formula 3 car.
And power steering is something that is very different. In Formula 2 you don’t have the precision between the wheels and the steering wheel. In Formula 1 you do. You just need to get used to it. It’s a completely different feeling, but also the fast corners of Formula 1 are quite impressive.
It would be interesting to see how much progress we’ve all made.
Will you change your workout routine to suit Formula 1 cars?
To be honest, no. I think a Formula 2 car is a lot more physically demanding than a Formula 1 car because Formula 2 doesn’t have power steering and this is a huge physical challenge. I mean, it’s very hard for us in Formula 2 just to turn the steering wheel, whereas in Formula 1 you can just turn it with two fingers.
And will you make any changes in terms of what you’re eating?
I probably won’t, I’ll just work out and eat the way I’ve always done it.