Todt: Great champion Leclerc 'still lacks something'


Former Ferrari boss and FIA president Jean Todt says Charles Leclerc is "a great champion" but insists the Scuderia charger "still lacks something".

Leclerc hit the ground running at the start of the 2022 season, winning two of the first three races and building himself a comfortable lead in the Drivers' standings over arch-rival Max Verstappen.

Ferrari's F1-75 appeared to have the measure of Red Bull's contender in the first half of the year, but after the Milton Keynes-based outfit resolved its early reliability issues, the two teams were on a par in terms of performance.

However, a Ferrari team prone to mistakes and strategy missteps set back Leclerc which allowed Verstappen to overhaul the Monegasque and detach himself in the championship over the summer.

In Singapore this week, Verstappen will be gunning for his 12th win this season and his sicth consecutive triumph.

In an interview with Italy's Gazzetta dello Sport, Toft offered his view on Leclercn who also happens to be managed by the former FIA president's son, Nicolas Todt.

"Charles is already a great champion. He still lacks something, I hope he has it soon," said Todt who did not specify exactly what Leclerc was missing.

As a man who knows the House of Maranello inside out, having steered Ferrari to multiple world titles under the reign of one Michael Schumacher, Todt still follows his former outfit quite closely.

The Frenchman says the Scuderia - which won its last world title in 2008 - still needs to work on its game, learn from its mistakes and "not leave anything to chance".

"Ferrari at one point had the best car in the championship," he said. "Then they missed certain opportunities – I’m thinking of strategy, a Safety Car that came in at the wrong time, reliability problems.

"Different episodes had a cost. We have to reflect on this to avoid them happening again.

"Never leave anything to chance. And if you manage to leave nothing taken for granted, all the ingredients are there to be champions.

"I think almost everyone would like to see Ferrari win championships, not just a few races," added Todt.

"We can hope so for next year, because this year I don't think it's possible any more.

"But to win you need excellence at all levels. It is difficult to reach it, and even more difficult to maintain it.

"It starts with excellence in detail, from the one who answers the phone in the company. If a company does not answer the phone after ten rings, that is not a good company.

"You cannot make two identical mistakes. If that happens, it means that something needs to change."

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