Japanese Grand Prix: Charles Leclerc expects 'difficult weekend' because of Jules Bianchi memories
Sauber driver Charles Leclerc says he is expecting "a very difficult weekend" at the Japanese Grand Prix because of memories of Jules Bianchi.
Leclerc is the godson of Bianchi, who died nine months after sustaining head injuries in a crash in the 2014 race.
The 20-year-old stopped on his track walk on Thursday at the spot at Dunlop corner where Bianchi crashed.
"I never came to Japan before. The track walk was quite emotional," said Leclerc.
"But on the other hand I really need to focus on this weekend to try to do the best job possible anyway.
"It's obviously a very difficult weekend. Jules has helped me massively to arrive here, more than only on the racing side. He was a bit like part of the family."
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Leclerc said he had been considering using a tribute helmet at the race but had been prevented from doing so by a rule that dictates drivers can only change their helmet design once in a season. He has already do so this season as a one-off at his home race in Monaco.
But he said he was considering having a special helmet next year, when he will drive for Ferrari, with tributes to both his late father, who died last year, and Bianchi.
"I'm definitely thinking about something for next year, about a helmet, but you know there is this rule where you can only run one special helmet," said Leclerc.
"This year I did it for my father, next year I have an idea of doing something, a helmet split on both sides - one for Jules, one for my father.
"For this year I will have nothing more special than trying to make him remembered as much as I can to the public."
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|Japanese Grand Prix coverage details|
|Date||Session||Time||Radio coverage||Online text commentary|
|Thursday, 4 October||Preview||20:30-21:00|
|Friday, 5 October||First practice||01:55-03:35||BBC Radio 5 live sports extra||From 01:30|
|Second practice||05:55-07:35||BBC Radio 5 live sports extra||From 05:30|
|Saturday, 6 October||Final practice||03:55-05:05||BBC Radio 5 live sports extra||From 03:30 (continuous)|
|Qualifying||06:55-08:05||BBC Radio 5 live sports extra|
|Sunday, 7 October||Race||06:00-08:00||BBC Radio 5 live||From 04:30|
|Monday, 8 October||Review||04:30-05:00||BBC Radio 5 live|