Binotto: Leclerc can be "clear leader" for Ferrari F1 team 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 "clear leader" for Ferrari F1 team like Schumacher

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."

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 team-mate 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
Bottas felt no "massive responsibility" to guide Russell in Sakhir GP

Previous article

Bottas felt no "massive responsibility" to guide Russell in Sakhir GP

Next article

Haas F1 still defining technical role for Ferrari arrival Resta

Haas F1 still defining technical role for Ferrari arrival Resta
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Michael Schumacher , Charles Leclerc , Mick Schumacher
Teams Ferrari
Author Luke Smith
How Brabham’s one-hit wonder was boxed into a corner Plus

How Brabham’s one-hit wonder was boxed into a corner

The Brabham BT46B raced once, won once, then vanished – or did it? STUART CODLING reveals the story of the car which was never actually banned…

The changes Barcelona needs to provide a modern-day F1 spectacle Plus

The changes Barcelona needs to provide a modern-day F1 spectacle

Formula 1’s visits to Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya over recent years have been met with familiar criticisms despite tweaks here and there to the track to improve racing. With the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix largely going the same way, proper solutions need to be followed to achieve F1’s wider targets

Spanish Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Spanish Grand Prix Driver Ratings

Often described as Formula 1's laboratory, the Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona gave the clearest demonstration yet of the pecking order in 2021. And it's the key discrepancies from that order which illuminate who is excelling, and who needs to hit the reset button

How Red Bull’s deja vu set Hamilton on the winning path in Spain Plus

How Red Bull’s deja vu set Hamilton on the winning path in Spain

An aggressive first corner move from Max Verstappen appeared to have set the Red Bull driver on course for victory in the Spanish Grand Prix. But canny strategy from Mercedes - combined with the absence of Red Bull's number two from the lead group - allowed Lewis Hamilton to pull off a demoralising reversal

Formula 1
May 10, 2021
The toe-in-water origins of Lotus’s groundbreaking F1 journey Plus

The toe-in-water origins of Lotus’s groundbreaking F1 journey

In the first part of our history of Lotus, DAMIEN SMITH recalls how Formula 1 wasn’t an immediate priority for team founder Colin Chapman – but once he got a taste for it he just couldn’t stop…

Formula 1
May 9, 2021
How Hamilton’s qualifying record compares to Senna and Schumacher Plus

How Hamilton’s qualifying record compares to Senna and Schumacher

Lewis Hamilton has just become the first driver to record 100 world championship Formula 1 pole positions. Time to revisit a debate we discussed when he reached 150 front row starts in 2020.

Formula 1
May 8, 2021
Why sustainability is being mandated by F1 Plus

Why sustainability is being mandated by F1

Continuing to be socially acceptable as public views shift globally is vitally important to the future of motor racing, says PAT SYMONDS - especially in Formula 1, the championship that represents the technological peak

Formula 1
May 8, 2021
The Barcelona practice times that prove Red Bull's title credentials, and heap pressure on Verstappen Plus

The Barcelona practice times that prove Red Bull's title credentials, and heap pressure on Verstappen

Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes led the way in Friday practice for the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix, but there was one big encouraging sign for Red Bull. The trouble is, it looks like making good on that gain will require its superstar driver to avoid repeating a mistake made today that left him well down the FP2 order

Formula 1
May 7, 2021