Is Leclerc the new Gilles Villeneuve for the Tifosi?
Charles Leclerc was an absolute protagonist in Monte Carlo, despite of the final result. Is this just another step of the legacy of a new fan-favourite?
There were a lot of talks during the last week about Charles Leclerc’s race in Monaco. Especially in the Italian media, the Monegasque short race was really appreciated despite of the result. Spectacular overtaking and reckless driving gave new fuel to Ferrari fans, disappointed by this difficult championship start. It is important to say that, for sure, Leclerc’s assault was a lot of excitement in a modern Formula 1 that is not used to see such a young driver doing things like that in Monte Carlo. It is also true that his comeback attempt pulled out people empathy, where everyone identified in Charles with his desperate struggle at his home grand prix, after a mistake on the Saturday of which he was totally innocent.
Some days are harder than others. Today was one of them, being at home hurts even more, starting 16th at the race where overtaking is the most difficult of the season won't be easy but I'll give it all.— Charles Leclerc (@Charles_Leclerc) 25 maggio 2019
📸: @jcpieri pic.twitter.com/hluYSzuFxj
With all these factors the Italian press and the Tifosi around the world immediately compared him and his fever to the one created by Gilles Villeneuve, also because of the ride on three wheels after returning to the box from the incident with Hulkenberg, as in Zandvoort 1979. The commitment and the desire not to give up of the Monegasque during the race were certainly worthy of great mention, but it is also important not to forget that the retirement occurred after only ten laps led the pilot not to collect any points for the team. Where is the limit between celebrating a failure, faded to the third attempt to overtake, and rationally remarking a negative result even if emotionally satisfying?
This is the point that should lead to an important reflection, both on Ferrari choices and on Formula 1 as a whole. Why did the most famous Scuderia in the world reach the point of having to place all its hopes in the crystalline talent of a very young and therefore immature driver? What has led the F1 itself to be so predictable in recent years, and therefore so poor in characters like Leclerc able to capture the attention of the most loyal fans?
But above all, is it correct to say that Leclerc is the new Villeneuve or is it the typical exaggeration dictated by nostalgia and the lack of other topics? The 2019 world championship is certainly headed towards Mercedes, with Hamilton having his only opponent in his partner Bottas. And yet, in Leclerc's attacks and Verstappen's cautious attempts, have we finally seen a glimpse of the Formula 1 of the future?