Motor racing is a lifelong passion of mine. Coming from a country that has produced many racecar drivers, some iconic, I guess this passion developed naturally.
I can recall as early as my teens, back in 1974, how exciting it was to watch Emerson Fittipaldi on TV win his second Formula One World Championship. He won his first title in 1972, at age 25, making him the youngest champ in F1 history at that time. I never would have imagined, many years later while living in Florida, that Emmo and I would become business partners.
During my years living in the U.S, I became fascinated by Champ Car and Indy racing. I was thrilled when my friend, three-time Indy 500 Champion Helio Castroneves, took me for a wild ride in the streets of Miami when he bought his first Ferrari. As a guest of Helio at so many races, from Talladega to Homestead, and spending countless hours chatting with him pre-race or with other drivers in the paddock, I soaked it all up to form a deep appreciation of my chosen sport.
Smitten, I began to attend every race possible.
Monaco is, of course, the touchstone for any Grand Prix enthusiast. I couldn’t wait to buy my first supercar and drive along the epic street circuit. It was pure magic. And I’m not alone. Many friends, like me, have lived the dream of motor racing and Monaco; it’s our shared DNA.
With a change in priorities brought about by family life, my Grand Prix attendances gradually diminished, but the Monaco Grand Prix remains incontournable. This is why picking Charles Leclerc for our cover was a no brainer. The young Monegasque is a rising star having worked his way up through the prestigious Ferrari Academy. His path as a future F1 champ had been clearly set.
Sure, Max Verstappen holds an impressive record as the youngest driver to win a race—the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix at age 18—but Leclerc, at 21, is just starting out. Expectations from his hometown will gain momentum if he continues to excel and drive with the skill he has shown so far.
An amazing talent has been unleashed.