Charles Leclerc will play his fourth season with Ferrari this year, and the Monegasque would have a lot of similarities with Fernando Alonso according to a former sporting director of the Scuderia.
Massimo Rivola held this position from 2009 to 2019 and he therefore attended the Spanish double world champion for five seasons (from 2010 to 2014) and Leclerc during his first campaign in red (2019).
« It was great fun working with him, » Rivola said. « I immediately thought he would become world champion. »
« He reminded me of Alonso in some aspects, he wanted to win everything and did not accept defeat, he took it very badly. »
When he makes a mistake or is not satisfied with his level of performance, Leclerc does not hesitate to criticize himself on the radio, even if it means calling himself an idiot or qualifying his work as m* ***.
Rivola thus explains having worked with the Monegasque on his problems of anger and anxiety which sometimes manifest themselves.
« If you make a mistake at a corner then you can’t think about it for the rest of the lap. He’s worked a lot and improved on that. »
« And I think the tragedies he suffered, the loss of Jules Bianchi and his father, made him even stronger. »
« He still has great potential to grow. I told him what he needed to improve on. He still needs to improve his reading of the race. »
According to Rivola, of all the current F1 drivers who have not yet won the title, Leclerc is the best prepared of them all.
« Honestly, I see it in front of the other young drivers today. »
“Take Verstappen, now that he has won the title he will have a lot of confidence. Red Bull allowed him to make mistakes, which was not the case for Leclerc at Ferrari because the pressure is even greater.
Rivola also mentioned Lando Norris, Carlos Sainz and George Russell as potential F1 world champions in the future.
« Norris was the surprise last year, I’ve been him since he was 16 and he was already strong. He made Ricciardo look like a disappointment. »
« Russell also has the ability to become a world champion. Sainz meanwhile did not surprise me. I had already proposed him to the (Ferrari) academy several years ago. He is one of those who have always been strong. He’s quick and smart. »