These two brothers, blood brothers, should have been united for a long life, sharing the happiness to be on the starting grid of a Formula 1 Grand Prix. Especially in Monaco, where they grew up side by side : one in the principality where he was born and the other in Nice, two steps away. "It was our dearest wish to Hervé, Charles's dad who was my best friend, and to me" cries Philippe Bianchi, Jules's father.
It was also the dream of Charles Leclerc and Jules Bianchi when they started. It was in Brignoles (Var) in 2002 on Philippe Bianchi's kart track, which says: "Our two families are very close. One day, Hervé came with Charles who was 4 years old. We put him in a kid's kart. At this age, a kid presses on any pedal. Not him: he knew how to do everything. He spent all his weekends at home with Jules. If they had been allowed to do so, they would have driven 24 hours a day. They were always together and so talented. "
Fate has decided otherwise. Jules Bianchi was the victim of a terrible accident in Suzuka (Japan) in 2014. After 9 months of coma, the childhood friend left in July 2015. He was 25 years old. "Jules was older," says Philippe Bianchi. He took Charles his wing. He was his godfather, his mentor. He supported him and introduced him to the right people. "
"The dramas have brought us together"
In Charles, Philippe Bianchi finds a little of his son. "Charles is still a kid off the slopes," he slips. When he puts on his helmet and puts himself in the tub, he becomes a beast for whom only one thing counts: to win. He is unrecognizable. Jules was the same. "
Jules left, the links between the two men were strengthened: "The dramas have brought us closer, confides Philippe Bianchi. After Jules, it's Hervé, the father of Charles, former Formula 3 driver, who left in 2017. He was my dearest friend. From up there, I know they are proud of Charles. Me? I have tears in my eyes. "
Half of this helmet is Jules' one and the other half is my father's one. Without these 2 I would not be here. Let's give it all for this special weekend. pic.twitter.com/OW702VmLqY
– Charles Leclerc (@Charles_Leclerc) May 22, 2019
On his helmet, Charles Leclerc pays tribute to the two men. On the left side, he reproduced the design of the one worn by his father. On the right, he reproduced the colors of the helmet of his friend Jules when he scored his only points in F1 at the wheel of a Marussia 5 years ago.
Philippe Bianchi is upset: "Jules should have driven a Ferrari. It was programmed. So when I see Charles driving a red car in Monaco, at his place, at home, there are no words strong enough. "