Charles Leclerc, Sauber, Monaco, 2018

Leclerc: My fans don’t understand why I’m not winning

2018 F1 season

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Charles Leclerc enjoyed the home support he received in Monaco last weekend but pointed out some new fans didn’t understand why Sauber weren’t victory contenders.

The Sauber driver said he had even more support than expected in Monaco, where he was the first home-grown driver to compete for 24 years. “A lot of people were pushing me and that was great,” said Leclerc.

“But I also realised a lot of people were following F1 for the first time and they didn’t really get that at the moment I cannot win the races for now.

“So people were like ‘oh, you are P14 in quali, you should be pole’. Then it’s difficult to explain because for the people who are not properly into the sport they can’t really understand.

“They pushed me and I had massive support so that was great. But you realise that people that are not watching Formula One are not really understanding that there’s a lot more than only the driver and that the car [makes] a big difference.

“Now we are seeing the positives and we are improving [but] we are still not there to win races.”

Leclerc said it felt like the entire city was supporting him.

“It has been a great experience. The prince has been a massive support this weekend, for this I need to [say] thanks. He has been a massive supporter since I was probably 11 or 12 and it’s great to see he is still here pushing me.

“The whole city basically has pushed me. Once I’m go in the street they always speak to [me] like ‘come on, you can do it’. It’s always good and it gives you an extra motivation for sure.”

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Author information

Gabriele Koslowski
Gabriele Koslowski first began following Formula 1 during the early noughties, and is a director of a Belgian motorsport media company. During the past...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 21 comments on “Leclerc: My fans don’t understand why I’m not winning”

    1. Yes, Monte Carlo is a fairly new market for the Formula One brand.

    2. You would think that in such a small place, with such close ties to F1, general knowledge would be a bit better?

      But, it does also show two things;
      1) There is still a huge untapped market for Liberty in the historic strongholds of the sport, so chasing new markets might not be the best strategy.
      2) The sport needs to equalise performance across all the teams and engine suppliers, & it needs to simplify simplify the sport massively if it want’s to attract new and casual fans on a more regular basis.

      1. I think you’re putting too much stock in Leclerc’s words.
        If his fans have not even the least bit of knowledge about F1, how are they fans of his to begin with?
        Any part of commentary of any session will point out differences in performance between the cars. I find it highly questionable that anyone could look at F1 for more than a few laps and not find that out.

        1. If his fans have not even the least bit of knowledge about F1, how are they fans of his to begin with?

          Please, I know people who’ve never watched a single F1 race in their lives who claim to be Hamilton’s “best fans”.

          1. This is true. Even with driver like Haryanto in his country.

        2. Leclerc says that these are new fans who have been drawn into F1 (most likely due to the participation of a local driver). As with many fans, support of the ‘home grown’ driver is often a popular choice of who to follow…

        3. A lot of Charles’ local fans started supporting him when he was in junior series, quite possibly due to being the best Monegasque driver for a while simply for doing well at international level. He’d picked up a following of several thousand before his GP2 season even began, if his Twitter feed is anything to go by, and probably most of them were locals, dedicated watchers of junior paddocks or people being guided in their support decisions by the aforementioned people.

          This does not necessarily mean that someone following a driver because they are both local and good are familiar with F1 as such. Narain Karthikeyan had the same problem, but it was easier to understand there because India hasn’t had a track hosting F1 races for 60-odd years and Monaco, as @mrboerns so wittily implies, has*.

          In F3, GP3 and F2, the cars are basically equal (some teams are better at set-ups than others, but it doesn’t make F1 levels of difference). As such, it could be easy to think that someone who walked the lower series can do similarly in the upper one, provided the driver in question is awesome enough. (Possible in theory, but has never happened in reality and is unlikely ever to occur). F1 cars are not equal, as anyone who’s listened to the commentary for more than one F1 race all the way through can confirm.

          * – For the “proximity to F1 venue does not equate F1 knowledge…”, last month I was visiting Silverstone for a running race and temporarily forgot which end of the village the track was. The first person I asked had to admit they lived in the village (which basically has a shop, a church, a post office, some houses and the track/industrial complex) and didn’t know which end of the village the track was either!

      2. There is a better chance of attracting people/sponsors in new markets. If people did not get into F1 in Monaco in the past than maybe it is better to look elsewhere.

        Well, if we want to see a one-make championship like IndyCar then yes, let’s standardize it all… I do not support that, that is not Formula One.

    3. MB (@muralibhats)
      2nd June 2018, 14:15

      Having hard time believing what he said. Why will someone become new fan of his without seeing him race first? If they have seen him race, then definable they know the pecing order. And this being Monaco, who doesnt know the teams which has been winning from past years- even if not following races.

    4. My dad also doesn’t understand that the driver is only 10% and the car is 90%, I have to explain it to him every time he watches some laps with me.
      F1 is a weird “sport” (if you can call it like that), I can’t think of any other sport where talent doesn’t get you to the top.

      1. F1 is a weird “sport”

        Not to mention your teammate is hardly your “mate”, they often are your biggest competitor! @francorchamps17 :-)

      2. Hans (@hanswesterbeek)
        2nd June 2018, 18:29

        I can think of some, albeit in a bit of a different way. In football (aka soccer) for instance, there may be some great players who are scoring all the time, but they do not win the champions league because they are not playing for one of the few teams who are in that league.
        In (road) cycling as well, there are some riders who are really fast, or great climbers, but they do not win the Tour de France because that is more of a team effort as well.
        Or, in a different vain: a single employee in a 500+ employee company cannot beat the competition on her or his own. It’s a company effort and many different ‘gears’ of that machine need to work together.
        These are my analogies that I use when someone asks me why driver x is not winning in F1.

        1. The Dolphins
          2nd June 2018, 19:18

          I like to use the horse racing analogy, a jockey or a horse alone cannot win. It’s a team effort, both depend on eachother.

          In F1 there’s something to be said about a driver punching above his weight and I think Charles is doing that, Fernando is another great example, but don’t expect them to be winning races based of their skill alone.

      3. 10% and 90%? are u serious? u really think that or u just began watching motorsports?

    5. That’s gotta be some dumb ass fans….

    6. LOL. It should be very obvious to everyone why it isn’t possible to win races in just any car/machinery in F1 on pure pace, especially considering that’s been the case since day one.

    7. Well us F1 fanstics might find it hard to understand. But to an ignorant observer.. Say a kid, or his friend might be very strange to have a grid of cars with varying speed.

    8. Monsieur LeClerc, your fans don’t understand why you’re not winning because they know nothing about F1, you’re in an underfunded, uncompetitive car and Formula One has always been dominated by at least 2 top teams all throughout its history.

    9. FlatSix (@)
      3rd June 2018, 7:57

      @keithcollantine Maybe add a picture of the RSR Porsches classic liveries for Le Mans? Am sure quite a few readers could appreciate that even though they don’t follow endurance racing.

      Also yesterday we had the 1000km of Paul Ricard. Wonderful race with action throughout. Really don’t know what to expect here from F1 with the Mistral cut into two with a chicane.

    10. Then it’s difficult to explain….

      It doesn’t seem that difficult. Just say “Everyone else has a better car than me”

      Simple.

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