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Godfather Jules Bianchi Pitched Young Charles Leclerc to Ferrari Talent Hunter

Mahim Suhalka

Godfather Jules Bianchi Pitched Young Charles Leclerc to Ferrari Talent Hunter

Charles Leclerc often credits his late mentor Jules Bianchi for his amazing progress in F1. The Leclerc and Bianchi families share close ties, which is how the two initially came in contact. After seeing the Monegasque’s passion for racing, Bianchi started supporting him and as per Leclerc’s admission, became his godfather. This relationship blossomed into a friendship that was immortalized after Bianchi’s tragic passing in 2015. Now, after years, Nicolas Todt, who was a Ferrari talent hunter back then, has revealed that it was Bianchi who pitched Leclerc’s name to him.

During an interview with Radio Deejay, Nicolas Todt said, as quoted by Formula Passion, “My job was above all to be a talent scout. I tried to select the best young drivers in the world. At that time there were 2-3 really strong drivers in karting, like Max [Verstappen] and Charles [Leclerc]”.

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“Charles and I had a great friend in common, Jules Bianchi, who sadly passed away 10 years ago, and Jules’ best friend was Charles’ brother. The Bianchi family told me about Charles, telling me that he was really worth helping. We met Charles’ dad when he was 14 years old, concluded the Frenchman.

The Monegasque was soon signed under the Ferrari Drivers Academy program. Bianchi was also part of the Ferrari Academy. Thus, it was a perfect source of mentorship and guidance for a young Leclerc. With steady progress, the #16 driver secured an F1 seat at Sauber, before getting his first Ferrari contract in 2019.

Ever since Bianchi introduced Todt to Leclerc when he was merely 14, the Frenchman has been by his side. Todt is Leclerc’s manager to this day. Still, the five-time race winner would always miss his role model, even a decade after his untimely demise. Though, is the Monegasque making his late friend and godfather proud?

The Formula 1 arc of Charles Leclerc

Ever since his debut in 2018, Leclerc has been touted to be a future world champion. The Monegasque scored his first points in Baku in the fourth round of the 2018 season. After breaking his duck, he was among the top 10 regularly. Despite all the DNFs, his performance in his rookie year with Sauber was enough to convince Ferrari to give him a seat for 2019. This made Leclerc the first Ferrari Driver Academy protege to sign for the Italian team.

Sadly, Leclerc lost both his father and godfather before they could witness him driving in the premier class. Bianchi lost his life following a crash in Japan in 2015. Two years later, he lost his father to cancer, after battling the disease for over a year.

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Fighting to bring pride to his two father figures, Leclerc continues his journey in the sport. However, the championship still remains elusive to the 26-year-old. He made a real charge for it in 2022 and finished P2 in the overall standings. Since then, he has failed to challenge the front-running combination of Red Bull and Max Verstappen.

However, he has mainly been held back because of the shortcomings of the Ferrari challenger. In 2024, Ferrari seems to have overcome those shortcomings and the Monegasque can look toward a more competitive future. For now, he will focus on beating his teammate and getting in the fight for podiums and wins consistently.

Post Edited By:Aishwary Gaonkar

About the author

Mahim Suhalka

Mahim Suhalka

Mahim Suhalka is an F1 journalist at the SportsRush. With an ever-growing love for the sport since 2019, he became a part of the industry two years ago and since then has written over 2200 pieces. A Lewis Hamilton fan through and through and with Hamilton's loyalties shifting to Ferrari, so will his. Apart from F1, he is a Football fanatic having played the sport and represented his state in various tournaments as he still stays in touch with the sport. Always a sports enthusiast Mahim is now translating his passion into words.

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