Nicolas Todt, the son of former Ferrari Formula One team principal and current FIA president Jean Todt, and manager of new Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc, was interviewed by Italian daily newspaper published in Milan Corriere della Sera, as he discussed about the Monégasque racing driver, Scuderia Ferrari, Jules Bianchi and much more.
Nicolas Todt interview for Corriere della Sera:
Imagine Charles becoming Formula 1 world champion: how many years will it take?
Nicolas Todt: “I don’t want my answer to end in the title of this article, so: it is impossible to say. It depends on the car. Hamilton came close in his first year in F1 with Alonso, he then won the championship in the following year, but he had the car to do it. Charles has never even reached the podium since he didn’t have a car that would allow him to achieve this. When he has the car, he will be world champion in a few years’ time: I am convinced of it!”
Nicolas Todt about how Charles signed for Ferrari
Nicolas Todt: “For some years now, Ferrari had invested in Charles. Then in 2018 he had his first season in F1: he worked very well, he was super fast, very little mistakes and they choose him. I can’t speak for Ferrari but I can say why I took this step because I understood that Charles is a potential world champion. He knows how getting into Ferrari is always risky and involves a great deal of additional pressure, but he is very mature and strong. In the junior categories, he was strengthened by working well and overcoming very difficult personal moments for a young boy.”
Maurizio Arrivabene (former Ferrari team principal) had said: Charles Leclerc will have to learn from Sebastian Vettel..
Nicolas Todt: “Charles goes to Ferrari to learn and get results: two absolutely compatible things. Let’s not forget that he has only 21 Grands Prix behind him and Vettel more than two hundred and Vettel is a 4-time world champion. Charles must keep his feet on the ground, and I will have to help him with this.”
Do you think Formula 1 teammates must be free to fight each other or answer back to the hierarchy?
Nicolas Todt: “It is a sexy question, to which I answer without reference to either Charles or Ferrari. In general I find that they must be free to drive until the moment one of the two has a significant advantage of points on the other. In that case I find it normal that whoever is behind gives a helping hand. The track determines the hierarchy.”
With Vettel and Leclerc, Raikkonen and Giovinazzi, Formula 1 is a little more Ferrari..
Nicolas Todt: “Ferrari understood that it was worth investing in young people and today it is beginning to reap the benefits of that choice. Once it was almost impossible for a young man to be at Ferrari, today we have Charles, and it is also a good idea to have Giovinazzi at the Alfa Romeo. A strong young man is a double investment: he drives the car and is someone removed from the competition.”
The Ferrari Driver Academy with Charles and the others remained after the loss of Jules Bianchi…
Nicolas Todt: “It was terrible. I lost a friend. If that final race (2014 Japan GP) was repeated a hundred times, it would have had a different result, I am convinced of that. Together we had high hopes, even with a smaller team. I can’t say I have faith, but I believe in certain signs: you see, today I feel that in Charles’ life what is going to happen was about to happen to Jules. One is walking the path we had dreamed of for the other: there is a transmission between two stories that seem to become a single story. The personal trainer (Andrea Ferrari) of Jules follows Charles now. When I see Charles win, I see both of their success.”
What was the first thing Leclerc did after signing for Ferrari?
Nicolas Todt: “He was very happy. He didn’t cry, he didn’t say that his life changes, if that’s what you want to know. He is a professional who only wants to do well.”
The mistakes Charles shouldn’t do?
Nicolas Todt: “Be impatient. He is only 21 years old and will have to handle the disappointment of the defeat that he feels even when he comes second. Charles always sets very high goals for himself, but I don’t think that will be a problem.”