Former FIA President Jean Todt says Charles Leclerc is a “great champion” – but says the Ferrari driver is “missing”.
In the early stages of the 2022 season, Leclerc appeared to be in contention for the title, having won two of the first three races.
However, he has only had one other win since then, with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen now boasting a massive 116-point lead in the standings.
Reliability has been an issue for Ferrari at some races this year, but Leclerc made mistakes – most notably in France, when a mistake saw him withdraw from the Grand Prix lead.
Ferrari have also executed a number of questionable strategies over the year and are now looking to defend second place in the Constructors’ Championship from Mercedes.
Speaking to Gazzetta dello Sport, Todt said of Leclerc: “Charles is already a great champion. He’s still missing something, I hope he’ll have it soon.”
Prior to his tenure at the helm of the FIA, Todt was a prominent senior figure within the Ferrari F1 organisation.
The Frenchman has urged his former team to learn from the mistakes that plagued his 2022 season.
“Ferrari once had the best car in the championship,” he said. “Then they missed certain opportunities – I’m thinking about strategy, a safety car that came at the wrong time, reliability issues.
“Different episodes had their price. We need to think about it so they don’t repeat themselves.
“Don’t leave anything to chance. And if you can manage not to take anything for granted, all the ingredients are there to become champions.”
Ferrari’s championship drought dates back to the 2008 season, when it last led the constructors’ championship.
Kimi Raikkonen remains his final Drivers’ Champion, having prevailed in his first year with the Scuderia team in the 2007 season.