Charles Leclerc has confirmed that he will run with the number 16 in his Formula 1 career. The Monegasque driver was announced by Sauber on Saturday at the launch of their title sponsorship deal with Italian manufacturer Alfa Romeo.
Leclerc won the Formula 2 championship this season and was linked with a step up to Formula 1 for many months before his deal was confirmed. He will partner Marcus Ericsson at the Swiss team, who will be heading into his fifth full season in F1.
Each driver chooses a race number that will stay with them until they leave the sport (or become world champion, in which case they then have the option to run with number 1). Leclerc confirmed that his racing number for his career will be 16.
"I remember watching Formula 1 being younger and dreaming of one day being part of it," the 20-year-old said. "I can't believe this day has arrived and that I will be racing with Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team for the 2018 Formula 1 World Championship.
"I am hugely thankful to all the people who have been involved in my path to Formula 1. A special thought to my father that did absolutely everything for me to get there and to Jules [Bianchi] that also helped me massively. I wish you two were here to see that, but I'm sure you will follow me from up there.
"Also a special thank you to the Ferrari Driver Academy/Scuderia Ferrari, my sponsors/partners, Nicolas Todt/All Road Management, my family, all the people close to me during all these years & obviously Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team for giving me this opportunity. Still a long way to go to my second dream. So back to work and see you in Melbourne."
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing