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Leclerc will 'wait and see' before setting 2018 targets

Charles Leclerc

Three months before his F1 race début with Alfa Romeo Sauber, Charles Leclerc is reluctant to set expectations for 2018.

Leclerc won this year's Formula 1 championship in his maiden season. The Ferrari Driver Academy driver was duly tapped to take over the Sauber seat from Pascal Wehrlein next season alongside Marcus Ericsson.

Leclerc has already taken part in eight free practice sessions - four with Haas in 2016, and four with Sauber this season.

“It was a great experience to drive a few FP1 sessions and tyre tests for the Sauber F1 Team in 2017," he said this month.

"The team welcomed me straight away. It is a great working environment, and I already feel confident and comfortable here.

"In 2018, my aim will be to gain more experience in Formula 1, and to bring as much value to the team as possible in return."

Leclerc said it was far too soon to be more specific with his objectives for his first season in Formula 1.

"I guess it’s quite hard to make them before you actually put your car on the track and see what it’s really worth," he explained.

"In junior categories, you can expect something and target something. But in Formula 1 it’s a lot harder. The differences between the cars are bigger.

"We’ll see after the first test. As usual, I’ll try to make the best work possible in the car. It’s difficult to expect something now."

Sauber's closer ties with Ferrari mean it will have an updated Alfa Romeo-badged engine for 2018. But other teams will also be making advances over the off-season.

"We have the new power unit, that should be a big step. Hopefully we can do also a step in the car," he said. "But it also depends on how big the step of the other teams will be. This we’ll have to see."

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