Charles Leclerc has poignantly conceded that lifelong friend Jules Bianchi was more deserving of a Ferrari seat than himself.
A member of the Ferrari junior academy, Bianchi made his F1 debut in 2013 with the now defunct Marussia team.
In line for a promotion to Ferrari, Bianchi sustained serious head injuries in an accident during the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix – succumbing to those injures whilst in an induced coma nine months later.
Five years on from his dear friend’s passing and Leclerc now occupies the seat once destined to have belonged to Bianchi. The two may even have become teammates.
In a teleconference today, Leclerc acknowledged the similarities between both his and Bianchi’s junior career, saying:
“The father of Jules and my father always joked that we had very similar careers. And strangely when he was racing and I was racing every time there was a weekend he had a very bad race, the same weekend I had a very bad race too. They were always joking [about] this.
“With our careers, obviously they are quite similar because with also Nicolas [Todt], my manager, he took more or less the same road for both of us.
“I’m pretty sure Jules had shown what he had to show in Formula 1.
“There was definitely a lot more to come. I think results like in Monaco [2014 where Bianchi scored Marrusia’s first and only world championship points] when he was in Marussia was telling a lot about his talent.
“He definitely deserved the F1 seat, probably the Ferrari seat even more than I did. But things decided others for him unfortunately.
“I’m pretty sure he would have shown probably even more than what I do. He was extremely talented.”