Leclerc pulls out from Abu Dhabi Haas outing

Charles Leclerc - Credit: Andy Hone/LAT Photographic

Charles Leclerc has decided to withdraw from his final outing with the Haas F1 Team, scheduled for the season-closing Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, to focus on his GP3 Series campaign.

The Monegasque driver was set to replace Esteban Gutierrez for a fifth time at the Yas Marina Circuit but with Leclerc heading into the season finale of GP3 with a twenty-seven point lead over ART Grand Prix team-mate Alexander Albon, he has decided to put all his attention into closing out that campaign rather than having the distraction of Formula 1.

“A really hard decision to make but I won’t be driving in Abu Dhabi during the Free Practice 1 with @HaasF1Team because of the timetable,” said Leclerc on his official Twitter account.

“I want to be 100% focus on my GP3 title. Doing the FP1 would have mean, I had to jump from the F1 straight into GP3’s qualifying.”

As a result, Gutierrez will get to complete the whole weekend on his final weekend with the American team before Kevin Magnussen comes into replace the Mexican in 2017 alongside Romain Grosjean.

Ferrari Driver Academy racer Leclerc has three race victories and five other podium finishes so far in 2016, and is on the verge of moving up into the GP2 Series in 2017, potentially with Prema Racing alongside Antonio Fuoco.