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“It’s beyond what I imagined” – Charles Leclerc recalls his first visit to Ferrari’s Maranello facility

Tejas Venkatesh
|Wed Aug 10 2022


Charles Leclerc imagined the inside of the Ferrari factory to resemble the movie Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

For Charles Leclerc, it was always a childhood dream to drive for Ferrari in F1.  Had someone from the future told him at age 10 he’d be doing the exact thing he always dreamt of, young Charles would have found it hard to believe.

But the Monageque showed grit and determination from a young age. Under the watchful eyes of his passionate father Herve, Charles started karting at the young age of 6.

He would then move up the ranks and come under the watchful eyes of Nicholas Todt. He signed young Charles in his driver management.

Nicholas, was the son of former Ferrari team principal, Jean Todt.  Jean worked with Michael Schumacher and won 5 consecutive championship titles with him between 2000 and 2004.

 

He would also practice alongside his mentor Jules Bianchi. Jules played the role of inspiration for Charles and paved his way to the coveted Ferrari driver academy.

Leclerc joined the Ferrari Driver Academy and he acted as a test driver while he was racing in F3. Charles won F3 in 2016 and later the F2 championship in 2017.

And this marked the first time he walked through the gates of Ferrari’s Maranello unit. Until then Charles has a rather vague and comical imagination of what happens behind the gates.

Also Read: Watch 6-year-old Charles Leclerc talks confidently about becoming an F1 driver in the future

When Charles Leclerc made his first visit to Maranello

Like Charles Leclerc, it is the dream of many automobile and racing enthusiasts to visit Ferrari’s iconic facility in Maranello, Italy. This is the location of Ferrari’s factory established by the founder, Enzo Ferrari.

Maranello has been the location of the Ferrari factory since 1943. It has survived many bombings during World War 2. And even after generations, it has preserved Ferrari’s rich legacy behind the walls.

The entry behind the 4 walls of the Ferrari factory is highly restricted. And a young Charles Leclerc recalls the first time he made a trip to Manello.

He was 11 or 12 at the time, brought along by a family friend who worked for Ferrari. But he was unable to enter the complex. He recalled what he imagined it to be like on the inside.

Charles said, “So I sat in the car park for two hours, trying to guess what it was like inside. I imagined it like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, you know? With Oompa Loompas running around!”

 

And now, the Ferrari driver regularly visits the complex and drives the cars on an F1 race track. “It’s beyond what I imagined,” is all he says when he recalls the memories.

But the image of a magical land beyond the gates, and engineers like Oompa Loompas has not left his mind. It keeps him grounded and is a message to us that we can achieve what we dream of!

Also Read: Charles Leclerc recalls his father’s pragmatic advice which changed his perspective towards racing


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