For the next 20 days, we’ll take a look at 20 drivers who we expect to break out in the 2020 racing season. Check out all of our 20 in ’20 posts right here!
WHO: Formula 1 driver #16, Scuderia Ferrari
2019 RESULTS: 4th, 264 points; 21 starts, 2 wins, 10 podiums, 7 poles
WHY HE’S ON THE LIST: True, 2019 was probably Leclerc’s breakout season, as he quickly asserted himself as too quick to simply accept the second driver mantle at Ferrari. A pole and what should have been his first career win in his second start for the team at Bahrain quickly proved not to be a fluke, as the Monagesque driver earned eight podiums in a 10-race stretch in the middle of the season. He also became the first non-Mercedes driver to score the Pole Trophy for most first-place starts in a season since the award was established in 2014.
2020, though, should be his first year as the bona fide number one on a team at the front of the F1 grid. Whether Sebastian Vettel’s regression was a result of the German being off his game or a driver crisis within the team, next season should see Leclerc favored as the team’s top challenger to Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, and it’s hard not to imagine him in that role for the foreseeable future (unless, of course, the rumors of Hamilton going to Ferrari for 2021 are true).