top of page

2017 Belgian Grand Prix With Charles Leclerc

August 5, 2019


Key to success for young drivers aspiring to have professional racing careers is accurate knowledge of how in reality the process works.

Two years ago, I traveled to the Formula One race at the famous Spa Francorchamps circuit on a trip specifically related to updating the business model of the Ferrari Driver Academy with then program manager and long-time friend Massimo Rivola.

Something special happened as young Ferrari Driver Academy driver Charles Leclerc enjoyed a breakout weekend driving in the Formula 2 category.

Charles won pole position on a wet track by an impressive 7 tenths over second place, and then followed up with a dominant victory in the feature race winning by a staggering margin of 25 seconds in a 25 lap race.

Fiat Chrysler Chairman (and Ferrari boss) Sergio Marchionne took notice and soon after announced that Charles Leclerc would graduate to a race seat on the Formula One grid for the 2018 season in a Ferrari backed program at the Sauber F1 team.

Many years previously in winter 2009, the Ferrari Driver Academy idea was crafted to develop next generation Ferrari F1 drivers "in-house" together with another long-time friend Luca Baldisserri. Historically, Ferrari had opted to sign experienced winning drivers from competing teams, but winning championships was too often elusive.

Lamce Stroll was the first young driver we signed to the Ferrari Driver Academy, and he also made the F1 grid as a rookie in the 2017 season. However as ever in life, things changed and Lance was no longer part of the Ferrari Driver Academy for his rookie F1 season.

Charles Leclerc together with Ferrari Driver Academy manager Massimo Rivola and MTV executives

By contrast, Charles Leclerc ultimately became a Ferrari F1 team driver and is excelling in his rookie season. So while it was mission accomplished for the Ferrari Driver Academy, full credit goes to Charles Leclerc for excelling at the Spa F2 race on that August weekend two summers ago.

We gave a young man the opportunity to show that he was deserving of his chance to become an F1 driver, and he delivered on the weekend when it mattered most.

For more information about race car driver development and management programs, contact Eric Jensen via email at

47 views0 comments


bottom of page