Sauber’s Xevi Pujolar Heaps Praise on ‘Potential Champion’ Leclerc


Charles Leclerc
Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd.

Xevi Pujolar says Charles Leclerc has all the hallmarks of a future Formula 1 World Champion despite the Monegasque driver only having started five Grand Prix with the Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team.

Pujolar is the head of trackside engineering for the Hinwil-based outfit, and he watched Leclerc, the 2016 GP3 Series and 2017 FIA Formula 2 champion score points in the past two races, with the highlight of the season coming in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix where he took an incredible sixth place after an extremely mature and mistake-free drive.

Pujolar, who has worked with another young charger in Max Verstappen as the Dutchman made the jump into Formula 1 at Scuderia Toro Rosso, says that Leclerc has all the potential in the world to be a superstar driver and a possible World Champion, given the right car.

“He is a potential champion. Definitely,” said Pujolar to Spanish newspaper El Mundo Deportivo.

“The way he is very demanding with himself, I’ve seen in other drivers like him. He does everything to the maximum and until he does, he’s not happy. And he wants the same from those around him.

“They’re the kind of people who ultimately win because they’re always looking for their limits.  He has many things I have seen in other great drivers, but I prefer not to compare. What I can say is that if the car improves he would do great results.

“Okay, at some of the first races he made mistakes, but that’s normal. You arrive from Formula 2 where you’ve won everything and find that everyone is a champion.

“So at the beginning it’s a shock. You think ‘How is that driver as fast as me?’ But once this type of driver knows how to regulate their potential, everything starts to happen.  Sauber is the best place he could have started in F1.”