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Sauber boss isn't putting pressure on Leclerc

Written by  Mar 12, 2018

Sauber team principal Fred Vasseur isn't putting pressure on highly-rated rookie Charles Leclerc to produce immediate results as he steps up to Formula 1.

The Monegasque arrives at the pinnacle of motorsport with back-to-back championship successes in GP3 and F2 as well as being the lead member of the Ferrari Academy program.

Indeed, after his remarkable performances to win the feeder series last year, many believe it could only be a matter of a few years before the 20-year-old dons the red overalls, but Vasseur is urging patience.

“I know Charles for… not 10 years but more or less because he’s done go-karting with us,” the Frenchman, who has strong connections with junior team ART Grand Prix said last week.

“He was very successful so far. He won more or less everything, but the next step will be the biggest one for sure. 

"To do F1 is a different story. You have to learn about tyres, about energy management, about engine management to deal with you. It’s a lot of things."

Alongside Marcus Ericsson at Sauber, some believe Leclerc could actually lead the Swiss team forward this season, but his boss insists success will be measured by other factors.

“I don’t have to put too much pressure on the shoulders. You have to deliver, but what is most important for me is to show he can improve across the course of the season," he said. "I know where we are today, similar for Charles also.

"He has a very positive attitude, and I’m fully convinced that he will do the job."

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His first F1 pre-season was solid enough in Barcelona, though a mistake on the final day, spinning into the gravel at the Turn 12, did frustrate the obviously keen youngster.

"I think the pace was very good on the lap I was doing but obviously I did not finish it. Completely my fault," he said.

"I will learn from it. We lost a bit of time on track because of me and this is something that should not have happened. It’s a bit stupid from my side to do it so early in the day, but it happens."

Asked how he felt ahead of his first Grand Prix in Australia, Leclerc added: “I feel ready, definitely, these two tests have taught me a lot.

“Obviously Formula 1 is still pretty new to me but on the performance side I think we are there. I think I’ve improved a lot in this test."

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