Formula 1 driver Charles Leclerc reveals his love of the piano and shows you how he recorded his first track in Ableton Live

Formula 1 driver Charles Leclerc is certainly comfortable with his feet on the pedals, but these usually deal with accelerating and braking rather than sostenuto or sustain. Or so we thought, because the Monégasque Ferrari ace has just released AUS23 (1:1), a piano-led piece inspired by his experiences at this year’s Australian Grand Prix.

This was a race that you’d think Leclerc would be happy to forget - he qualified down in seventh and crashed out on the first lap. However, he’s channelled his feelings about it into four minutes of melancholic music that are now available to hear on streaming services. Not so much Nils Frahm as Nils Vroom.

Writing about the track on his Spotify profile page, Leclerc said: “I’m excited to share with you a piano song that I’ve been working on, born out of my passion for music and created as a way to disconnect from racing and relax in between races.

“I’ve created this song around the Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix which is why I called it ‘AUS23 (1:1)’. This is the way we call the Australian Grand Prix in my Formula One team and thought it would be a nice connection to the racing world.

“After posting a story on Instagram of me playing that piano piece that I had composed, I had a lot of positive feedback from the fans that inspired me to record it, making it easier for my fans to enjoy my music.

“My love for music has always been there, but it wasn’t until the pandemic that I started playing the piano. With more time at home, I decided to buy a piano and learnt to play. Since then, I’ve fallen in love with the instrument and find myself playing it whenever I’m at home.”

It seems that Leclerc has also furnished his house with a studio setup (we’re guessing he’s comfortable with his hands on the mod wheel). In his Instagram stories he’s shown recording the track - which comprises just piano and some synth strings - in Ableton Live with his Roland Fantom keyboard. Maybe he should get Focusrite's FAST plugins involved as well...

Leclerc has had a slow start to the 2023 Formula 1 season, accruing just six points and lying 10th in the standings after three races. He’s just qualified on pole in Azerbaijan, though, so maybe his fortunes are on the up.

And if he wins the race, perhaps his we can look forward to his next track being an upbeat EDM banger.

Ben Rogerson

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it. 

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