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Leclerc reveals Ferrari were unhappy with secret skydive

LONDON (Reuters) - Ferrari Formula One driver Charles Leclerc has revealed that he upset the Italian team by skydiving at the end of last season without their permission.

FILE PHOTO: Formula One F1 - Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates - December 1, 2019 Ferrari's Charles Leclerc celebrates with the trophy after finishing third. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed/File Photo

The Monegasque, winner of two races in his first season with the sport’s most glamorous and successful team, last month posted a picture to his 2.6 million Instagram followers after his first tandem dive.

“What an amazing experience. Jumping alone is next on the list,” he said in the caption. The post was dated a day after the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Speaking at the Autosport International Show in Birmingham last weekend, the 22-year-old revealed that Ferrari had been less than happy. “I just told myself that in case it will go wrong I will not be here to be told off. So, yeah, I just went for it, and then they were a little bit upset,” he said.

“At the end, I won’t do it a second time. It was amazing. But it was just to do it once.”

Ferrari - last year’s championship runners-up - cannot rest entirely easy with the youngster they have under contract until the end of 2024.

In the same conversation, Leclerc listed skiing as a favourite off-season activity and said he also wanted to try rally driving and riding a MotoGP bike.

“I love bikes in general. I’m not sure Ferrari agrees for me to drive a MotoGP bike though,” he said.

Six times world champion Lewis Hamilton did that in December, spending a weekend with MotoGP great Valentino Rossi testing each other’s machinery in an event organised by a mutual sponsor.

The Mercedes driver also often posts photographs of himself snowboarding, riding snowmobiles and surfing.

Off-season injuries are not uncommon in Formula One. Former Red Bull driver Mark Webber broke a leg in a cycling accident in Tasmania ahead of the 2008 season.

The 2020 season starts in Australia on March 15 and Ferrari will unveil their new car on Feb. 11.

Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Mark Heinrich