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Leclerc: A special helmet in memory of a very special person

Charles Leclerc will race with a special helmet at this weekend’s 2024 Japanese Grand Prix as a tribute to the late Jules Bianchi.

This years marks the tenth anniversary of the accident that took the life of young Formula 1 racer and Ferrari Academy driver Bianchi, who crashed during the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix driving for back-markers Marussia.

Bianchi collided with a recovery vehicle – removing the crashed Sauber of Adrian Sutil – during the wet race and suffered injuries that resulted in his death in July of 2015, nine months after his crash.

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Bianchi and Leclerc were close the former acting as a mentor to the Monegasque who decided to use a special helmet this weekend to honor the late racer.

Leclerc said on social media: “A special helmet in memory of a very special person for me. 10 years this year since we have lost Jules here in Japan.

“So many memories together that I’ll never ever forget,” he added. “I miss you and I’ll do everything to bring that helmet on the top step of the podium on Sunday.”

Speaking to the media, quoted by Motorsport, Leclerc explained: “Of course it’s a very special place, and whenever I get here I have somewhere in my mind Jules. I obviously think about Jules very often, because he’s been the person that helped me to get there.

“Back in 2010 already he has spoken to Nicolas [Todt], my manager, in order for me to be supported to get to F1. And he’s been the game changer in my career.

“And before that, we have always been extremely, extremely close, and both of our families are still always very close.

“So it’s a very special place to be here. I’ll be having a helmet for him this weekend, and of course, as always, he’s always in my heart, and it’s going to be very important to do well this weekend,” the Ferrari driver concluded.