Ahead of his final race for the Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team, Charles Leclerc has said that he hopes that the team can bring their good form to the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and finish a promising season off on a high.
Boosted by an overhaul in technical staff and a strengthened partnership with Scuderia Ferrari, Sauber have made marked improvements throughout 2018 after a troublesome ’17 saw the team finish bottom of the Constructors’ Championship.
Leclerc, brought into the team after a championship winning debut year in the FIA Formula 2 Series, has reaped the benefits of the change. The Ferrari junior makes the step up to the senior side in an effective swap deal with ex-Sauber driver Kimi Räikkönen, who returns to the Hinwil-based side 17 years after his first stint.
Heading into this weekend’s season finale Sauber sit eighth in the standings, nine points ahead of Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda and six behind the Racing Point Force India F1 Team. In his own personal quest, Leclerc could move back into thirteenth place in the Drivers’ standings with a three point swing over Romain Grosjean.
Last year, Leclerc rounded off his Formula 2 season with second place and a victory in Abu Dhabi – a track that he enjoys driving.
“I am looking forward to going to Abu Dhabi,” said Leclerc. “I know the circuit and enjoy driving there.
“It is the last race of the season, and the ambience is always great.”
A Monégasque national, Leclerc is no stranger to glamorous settings, revealing that Yas Island is one of his favoured destinations on the calendar. Under the shine of the lights, the 20-year-old hopes that Sauber’s good form of late stays with them.
“I also like the city very much – it is one of my favourite destinations on the calendar,” he added.
“The track is quite technical, and hopefully we will be as competitive as we have been in the past few races.”
After freezing development of the C37 in the mid-season to focus on their 2019 entry, Leclerc said that extensive set-up work has been the key to Sauber’s points finishes.