Binotto: Leclerc can be a "clear leader" like Schumacher

Mattia Binotto is confident Charles Leclerc can be a “clear leader” for Ferrari in Formula 1 like Michael Schumacher was, believing there are similarities between the two drivers.

Binotto: Leclerc can be a "clear leader" like Schumacher
Listen to this article

Leclerc joined Ferrari for the 2019 season after an impressive rookie season with Sauber, having been part of the Italian marque’s junior programme since 2016.

The Monegasque driver won two races in his first season with Ferrari, prompting the team to sign him to a long-term contract running until 2024.

Team principal Binotto said there were comparisons that could be drawn between the rebuild taking place at Maranello upon Michael Schumacher’s arrival at the team in 1996, and what is currently taking place around Leclerc.

“I often compare it, I think there are similarities, no doubt,” Binotto said on the Beyond the Grid podcast.

“Ferrari at the time, 1995 to 2000, was investing. We were investing as we are investing today, investing on technologies, but investing on people as well, employing young people and young engineers.

“If I look at Ferrari in the last years, we have employed a lot of young engineers, which today are starting to become our foundations.

“There also was a leader as a driver, Michael at the time. I think today, we’ve got Charles. Obviously he’s not as experienced as Michael, because he’s not a world champion, while Michael was.

“We’ve got a clear leader on-track as a driver. I think that’s important as well. I think there is the commitment of the entire company to try to build a winning cycle in the future.

“Charles is a lot younger to Michael at the time. He needs, as often, to develop as a team. The success of Ferrari tomorrow will be somehow dependent on the way he will behave as a leader himself.

“But I think that while Michael was already a leader, Charles is developing as a leader, but is developing well.”

Read Also:

Ferrari has struggled through the 2020 season due to a lack of engine power and aerodynamic weaknesses with the SF1000 car.

But Leclerc has produced a number of stand-out performances, scoring two podium finishes to sit sixth in the drivers’ championship with almost triple the points of teammate Sebastian Vettel.

Binotto felt that Leclerc had driven better through 2020 than in 2019, when he finished fourth in the championship.

“This year, he drove even better than last year,” Binotto said.

“I think with a difficult car as he’s got this year, he has been strong, consistent, he has been capable of adapting himself to the various track layouts, trying to extract the most potential of the car.

“The way he progressed was the way now he understands the tyres and can manage the tyres, not only on the single qualy lap where he is very strong, also on the race pace.

“As a driver he developed a lot. I think he is stronger, compared to what he was. That is experience, but not only as a driver, but I think as a man, he is growing.

“He is very linked and connected and committed to the team, to Ferrari, and I think that our people feel it very well.

“I like the way he is part of our family. He is really the right way of acting, and I appreciate his commitment.”

shares
comments

Related video

Sato joins AlphaTauri for Abu Dhabi F1 test
Previous article

Sato joins AlphaTauri for Abu Dhabi F1 test

Next article

Alonso in, Vettel out: Who can do F1’s young driver test?

Alonso in, Vettel out: Who can do F1’s young driver test?
Load comments
The six subplots to watch in 2022 as a new F1 era begins Prime

The six subplots to watch in 2022 as a new F1 era begins

As Formula 1 prepares to begin a new era of technical regulations in 2022, We pick out six other key elements to follow this season

Why newly-retired Kimi Raikkonen won't miss F1 Prime

Why newly-retired Kimi Raikkonen won't miss F1

After 349 grand prix starts, 46 fastest laps, 21 wins and one world championship, Kimi Raikkonen has finally called time on his F1 career. In an exclusive interview with Motorsport.com on the eve of his final race, he explains his loathing of paddock politics and reflects on how motorsport has changed over the past two decades.

Formula 1
Jan 23, 2022
Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shake-up Prime

Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shake-up

Formula 1 cars will look very different this year as the long-awaited fresh rules finally arrive with the stated aim of improving its quality of racing. We break down what the return of 'ground effect' aerodynamics - and a flurry of other changes besides - means for the teams, and what fans can expect

Formula 1
Jan 21, 2022
Why F1's new era is still dogged by its old world problems Prime

Why F1's new era is still dogged by its old world problems

OPINION: The 2022 Formula 1 season is just weeks away from getting underway, but instead of focusing on what is to come, the attention still remains on what has been – not least the Abu Dhabi title decider controversy. That, plus other key talking points, must be resolved to allow the series to warmly welcome in its new era

Formula 1
Jan 20, 2022
The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022 Prime

The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022

Mick Schumacher’s knack of improving during his second season in a championship was a trademark of his junior formula career, so his progress during his rookie Formula 1 campaign with Haas was encouraging. His target now will be to turn that improvement into results as the team hopes to reap the rewards of sacrificing development in 2021

Formula 1
Jan 19, 2022
The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push Prime

The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push

As the driver of Formula 1’s medical car, Alan van der Merwe’s job is to wait – and hope his skills aren’t needed. James Newbold hears from F1’s lesser-known stalwart.

Formula 1
Jan 15, 2022
When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push Prime

When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push

There was an ace up the sleeve during the 1983 F1 title-winning season of Nelson Piquet and Brabham. It made a frontrunning car invincible for the last three races to see off Renault's Alain Prost and secure the combination's second world title in three years

Formula 1
Jan 13, 2022
How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner Prime

How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner

Brabham’s first world championship race-winning car was held back by unreliable Climax engines – or so its creators believed, as STUART CODLING explains

Formula 1
Jan 10, 2022