Ex-FIA president Jean Todt says he has noticed similarities between Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and one of the sport’s most successful drivers, Michael Schumacher.
Todt spent a number of years working alongside Schumacher during his triumphant Ferrari years before taking up the position at the helm of the sport’s governing body.
Schumacher won seven titles during his stint in F1, with Verstappen currently holding two to his name, which he secured in 2021 and 2022.
Verstappen is also being tipped by many to take a third title this year amid Red Bull’s electrifying start to the campaign.
Speaking to Corriere della Sera, Todt said when discussing Verstappen: “Fast, he makes few mistakes.
“He’s a fighter like Michael. But on a human level I know Max too little to judge him.
“Michael might have seemed a bit presumptuous and obnoxious when he ran, but it was an attitude that served to hide his shyness.
“He was humble, he always questioned himself. He never blamed the team, not even when the brakes broke at Silverstone through our fault.
“I don’t make comparisons, but he and Max have one thing in common – they drive for the best team and that helps.”
Verstappen dominated the 2022 campaign after Ferrari appeared as though it would pose a season-long challenge after the opening races.
The Maranello-based squad already looks to be out of title contention this year after a disastrous opening trio of races.
Todt hailed Charles Leclerc for his speed behind the wheel despite the Monegasque driver’s lacklustre start to the 2023 season.
“In F1 there are good ones, and then a very small group of very good people of which Leclerc is part,” Todt said.
And despite its title drought stretching back to the 2007 season when Kimi Raikkonen was crowned champion, Todt believes Ferrari is still one of the sport’s strongest teams.
“Ferrari has remained, since I left, one of the best teams in F1.
“Something is missing, it is the protagonist but not yet for the championship. Let’s give them time to show that they are able to take the last step.”