Charles Leclerc has revealed the reasons behind his decision to choose #16 as his permanent number in Formula 1 ahead of his debut in 2018 with Alfa Romeo Sauber.

Ferrari junior Leclerc will step up to F1 next year after dominating the Formula 2 championship through 2017, with his promotion being confirmed by Sauber at the start of this month.

Leclerc selected #16 as his permanent number to use in F1 throughout his career, but revealed that it was in fact his third choice for a number as Kimi Raikkonen and Pierre Gasly were already using his desired picks.

"It’s quite simple to be honest," Leclerc explained. "I wanted number 7 first, but Kimi had it.

"Then I chose 10, but Pierre came to F1 and chose number 10, so then I chose number 16.

"It’s just my date of birth and I could not find anything better. And 1 + 6 = 7, which is my favourite number."

Leclerc also revealed that he found out about the Sauber drive on the final day of the post-season test in Abu Dhabi, despite having been long-rumoured to be in line for a seat.

"It was the last day of the test in Abu Dhabi. Fred [Vasseur] called me and told me I would be the race driver for Alfa Romeo Sauber for 2018.

"As for any driver signing their first contract, it felt absolutely amazing. You feel like you have achieved something you always wanted. I always wanted to be a Formula 1 driver since I started karting really.

"But being in Formula 1 does not mean you are going to stay for long. So I need to work already to make the best season possible next year and hopefully have a successful career in F1.

"It will need a lot of work from my side."