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Leclerc reveals "amazing feeling" upon learning of 2018 Sauber seat

Written by  Dec 13, 2017

Formula 2 champion Charles Leclerc has revealed the "amazing feeling" he had when it was confirmed he would be driving in Formula 1 as part of the new partnership between Alfa Romeo and Sauber in 2018.

As the star member of the Ferrari young driver Academy, the Monegasque was first in line to earn a seat at what the Italian team hope will become a de facto junior team in the future thanks to the engine and title sponsorship deal.

One of the first things Leclerc had to decide after he was announced was which number he will race with during his upcoming career in F1 but admitted he had to settle for a third choice when making his decision.

"It’s quite simple, to be honest, I wanted number 7 first, but Kimi [Raikkonen] had it, then I chose 10, but Pierre [Gasly] came to F1 and chose number 10, so then I chose number 16," the 20-year-old explained.

"It’s just my date of birth and I could not find anything better and 1 + 6 = 7, which is my favourite number."

Leclerc was unveiled alongside Marcus Ericsson for 2018 at the launch of the new Alfa Romeo partnership in Milan, but he recalled the moment he first knew of his opportunity with Sauber a few days prior.

"It was the last day of the test in Abu Dhabi. [Team Principal] Fred [Vasseur] called me and told me I would be the race driver for Alfa Romeo Sauber for 2018," he said.

"As for any driver signing their first contract, it felt absolutely amazing. You feel like you have achieved something you always wanted. I always wanted to be an F1 driver since I started karting really.

"But being in F1 does not mean you are going to stay for long," he added. "So I need to work already to make the best season possible next year and hopefully have a successful career in F1.
"It will need a lot of work from my side."

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