Charles Leclerc, Jody Scheckter, Monza, 2019

Ferrari champion calls Leclerc “the Federer of Formula 1”

2019 F1 season

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Charles Leclerc has been compared to tennis great Roger Federer by one of his predecessors at Ferrari.

Jody Scheckter, who clinched the Formula 1 world championship with his victory for Ferrari in the 1979 Italian Grand Prix, said Leclerc is the first driver he has deeply admired since he left the sport.

“He’s a wonderful, a really nice guy”, Scheckter told RaceFans in an exclusive interview ahead of last weekend’s race. “I look at him as the Federer of Formula 1. Hopefully he can get the results.”

“It’s funny, I’ve never really looked at drivers and thought ‘wow'”, Scheckter added. “Before I raced and after I raced, Leclerc is the first one.

“I really have, and I hate to say, I nearly have an affection for the guy. I always say he’s calm, he seems a really nice guy, he’s massively talented.

“He’s got to get it together a little bit, you know. But what’s the curious thing is how does a person like that come from Monaco? That’s what baffles me.”

Scheckter returned to the paddock to drive his championship-winning 312T4 at Monza last week, four decades on from his final grand prix victory and championship triumph. Although he still follows the sport, he said he wouldn’t like to race in it today.

“Some of the rules, I cannot see the logic,” he said. “They seem to me the most illogical. I can’t understand it, spoiling the sport. Otherwise it’s been quite exciting, some of the last races.”

Read @DieterRencken’s full, exclusive interview with Jody Scheckter in this week’s RacingLines column today on RaceFans.

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44 comments on “Ferrari champion calls Leclerc “the Federer of Formula 1””

  1. “But what’s the curious thing is how does a person like that come from Monaco? That’s what baffles me.”

    Weird comments from schekter. Like somehow being calm and nice but also hungry for success is dictated by your place of birth.
    Also weird to compare a guy who has only won 2 grands prix to one of the most decorated sportsman of all time. Leclerc has talent but he still makes errors.

    1. I’m pretty sure he is comparing the fact that Leclrec seems like a genuinely nice person and it’s easy as a racing fan or just a normal person to gravitate towards that which is partly why Federer is so loved by millions. I’ve followed Federer’s career from the very beginning where on-court temper tantrums were pretty common and while you saw glimpses of greatness even early on, his play was very immature in many ways. Leclerc on the other hand is much cooler in his demeaner and his racing, not letting much get to him and he definitely has the driving talent of being the next Hamilton or Schumacher or Senna.

    2. I’m also wondering if Monaco is some horrible ghetto no one escapes with any amount of talent and hard work, or if he saying are monagasques all short-tempered.

  2. And this is how it starts! The fall is always harder than the rise.

  3. Maybe it’s just me but I find the title of this article very weird: “Ferrari champion …”. This is (or used to be) f1fanatics. Most people here know who Scheckter is and whoever doesn’t can take the opportunity to learn who he is. If you are here you are interested in F1 after all.

    In my opinion the title would be much if it mention which Ferrari champion we are talking about. Ideally by stating in what occasion that happen. Something like this: “In interview, Scheckter calls Leclerc…”. But maybe that is asking too much.

    1. @paulk I think it’s good to diversify your audience as RaceFans has done, especially since it’s re-brand from F1Fanatic.

      So now fans of other race series like WEC and FormulaE also use this site and it’s better to have titles like that to make it inclusive for everyone. I come here as it is a fan site of racing not just F1 and I am sure other’s do too.

  4. Former Ferrari Champion bigs up current ferrari driver who just broke their nearly decade long Monza win drought a week after also breaking their year long race win drought. Sounds legit.

    Joking aside, I see nothing wrong with former champions giving current drivers endorsements, as long as the younger guy doesn’t let it go to his head, then it’s a big boost to their confidence.

    And yeah, he’s made mistakes, but he’s young and only in his second year and which driver hasn’t made mistakes in their first couple of years? Verstappen is touted as championship material and his early F1 years were a minefield of errors and stupid decisions. Vettel and Hamilton same. Heck, remember Schumacher’s rather inauspicious debut at the 1991 Belgian GP? Didn’t even make it a lap before the clutch on his Jordan failed. In fact, Eddie Jordan once said that had he known Schumacher was going to jump to Beneton in for the next race, he’d have never given him the opportunity, though he also apparently admits to a bit of pride that Schumacher did once drive for him, even just for a bit. And lets not forget the nickname James Hunt earned before winning his championship.

    Being championship material doesn’t make a driver immune to mistakes and errors of judgement. I guarentee, if you picked any F1 champion, you can point at any number of races where they’ve made mistakes equal too or worse than Leclerc has made so far.

  5. Leclerc is nowhere as composed or mannered as Federer.

    1. Addendum: His teammate on the other hand is certainly the John McEnroe of F1.

    2. Federer wasn’t as composed or mannered as Federer when he was young though.

    3. Got to agree. If we really want to draw comparisons to tennis, it would have to be Lewis as Federer.
      Maybe Leclerc is a Djokovic .. and Verstappen a Kyrgios…lol
      Vettel looks like a Murray to me.

  6. Right now he has much more in common with Nico Rosberg than Roger Federer.

  7. Wow, people need to relax. He’s a good driver and he won two races.

    1. It was on two circuits that suited the low drag/high power characteristics of the Ferrari.
    2. Those characteristics gave him defensive options from attack during the race
    3. His teammate is barely awake during the weekends due to his kids waking him up at night.

    1. @runpower

      Kind of agree. Although, he could have been a 3 time winner if his engine didn’t give up in Bahrain. The way I look at it, Ferrari has had a chance at winning at only 5 races this year – Bahrain, Canada, Austria, Belgium and Italy.

      Bahrain, Leclerc should have won. Austria, he nearly won, but lost out in the end to a fierce Max with a slightly better strategy. Belgium and Italy, he took the honours.

      He’s doing a pretty good job… but comparing him to Federer is a bit of a stretch.

  8. Leclerc and Versttapen showed that they are most talented drivers.

    1. Leclerc and Verstappen showed that they are most talented drivers…..of the new generation (fixed it for you)

      1. You haven’t fixed anything. Verstappen has beaten Lewis using slower cars several times now in the last few years and Leclerc now twice in a row.
        Hamilton clearly doesn’t have the edge that should have won him more championships at McLaren, instead of the lucky single one.
        It’s always telling when his fans have to go back to 2007 to claim how great he is. By eventually equalling Alonso in Alonso’s worst season.

        1. A few times over a few years ! 😂😂. I can’t believe im actually responding to the known troll . 🤦🏻‍♂️

        2. @bigjoe Leclerc and Verstappen aren’t in Hamilton’s league and will nevwr achieve it, i can’s feel your hate for Lewis though 🤦🏽‍♂️👌🏽

          1. @noname
            That’s because you’re a racist Hamilton fan with a chip on your shoulder. Too eager to play the race card like the man himself does.

            There’s many things I like about Lewis as a person. But he’s get beat by drivers in slower cars too often to be considered anyway near Senna or Schumacher’s level. He lost to Alonso in that 3rd rate Ferrari too.

      2. Let me help you than. Leclerc and Verstappen showed that they are most talented drivers of all current f1 drivers.

        1. This comment is laughable. Not to say Verstappen and Leclerc do not have talent but to claim they are better than Hamilton!

          Lewis nearly won the title in his first season. McLaren would not have given him the drive if they did not think he was especially talented. I don’t recall him making all the stupid mistakes either that Verstappen did in his first couple of seasons.

          Lewis has had some good and not so good seasons but so will any driver. I think the 5 world titles might provide a bit of a clue with the 6th pending.

          1. Senna Schumacher and Alonso never lost to drivers in slower cars. Lewis has done that too often now. ! One lucky championship all those years at McLaren is pretty poor.

  9. That’s a bit of a stretch isn’t it?

  10. Sounds like he has a crush on Leclerc. Can’t really blame him, so does my wife :)

  11. He’s won two races, calm down. Perhaps a little too soon to hail him as the second coming after winning two races that his car’s practically designed for.

    1. @rocketpanda

      If Schumacher had beaten Senna in a slower car twice in a row, then it would’ve been the stuff of folklore.
      As it was he used an illegal car and usually won via strategy in that era.

      1. But it wasn’t a slower car.. who was on pole both occasions ?

        I agree with you comparing Hamilton to Senna though ! Both are the very best of the best.

        1. Tom, Toto Wolff said Bottas had the faster race pace on the day. Bottas said it was 5 tenths. Did you miss how the Merc was able to catch Ferrari?
          Stop spreading lies.

      2. @bigjoe, was it not the case though that Schumacher finished ahead of Senna in the 1992 season, even though the B192 was considered to be technically inferior to the McLaren MP4/7?

        For example, the B192 still had an H-pattern manual gearbox, whereas McLaren had already upgraded to a semi-automatic design – indeed, part of Schumacher’s legend came about because he won the Belgian GP that year, making him the last ever driver to win a race with an H-pattern manual gearbox against more technically advanced cars.

        1. Anon, It’s worth noting that Mclaren made the wrong call on the tires on that race, who kept dry tires on a increasingly wet track for Senna and he was overtook not only by Schumacher, but also Brundle and even Häkkinen in a Lotus. On that race, should Brundle had pitted when he was ahead Schumacher he would have won the race, but he hesitated and decided against it. Schumacher chosen the best moment to pit in that race, and that was the main reason for his victory, which was well earned and opportunistic of course, but nothing like the stated argument of a h shifter driver beating semi auto cars.

  12. I think Scheckter was mostly talking about Leclerc’s personnality off the car.

  13. @bigjoe

    You’re forgetting about 5 WDC, the all time pole record, closing in on the all time win record and winning a race in every F1 season he’s entered. But sure, a 2 time race winner and a 6 time race winner with the same amount of pole positions as Maldonado are clearly better.

    Both are quick but Hamilton is much more refined as a driver.

    1. + 1. Some people have some very odd ideas.

      1. Hamilton defence force out in their numbers this week!
        As usual he gets beat by Alonso in a slower Ferrari, Verstappen in a slower Red Bull several times and now Leclerc twice in a row. No other top driver has lost to slower cars like Hamilton has. Alonso even beat him in several races in 2008 in that awful Renault.
        Mansell also did better in his dominant car than Hamilton did.

        Oh and don’t shoot the messenger. Listen to what BBC commentators said:

        “Charles has just held off the faster Mercedes”

  14. Federer would never screw a teammate the way Leclerc did; this compliment is an insult to Roger.

    1. Federer doesn’t play doubles

  15. Sounds like ferrari were really desperate for a win. Then Charles gives them two in the trot, and suddenly he’s Jesus Christ incarnate.

    1. A month ago Verstappen was the GOAT . Lol. It’s bizarre how desperate people are. All the ridiculous Hamilton hater club people are just dying for something to say. They use to be Vettel fans, now their clinging to Verstappen and Leclerc. It’s funny. If one of them wins from pole in the fastest package they are applauded, driver of the day etc etc.. Hamilton has to come from dead last and win. He doesn’t always have the fastest car but he definitely gets maximum points 98% of the time.

      1. @motogpfan

        You sound so bitter.
        Lewis has never not been in a top team and you’re trying to deprive both Verstappen and Leclerc of credit even Andrew Benson gives.

        When did Verstappen and Leclerc have the ‘faster package’? The Mercedes was much quicker on Mediums at Spa and they both caught Leclerc at Monza. Even Wolff said Bottas had the faster race pace.

        Your shameless fanb@yism

        So did the BBC commentators

  16. 2 wins not much but that is still much more than what williams and mclaren together won since 2013.

  17. LOL. Another ex-driver who outs himself. Calling Leclerc the Federer of F1 is an insult to
    1) Roger Federer
    2) Formula One and
    3) Lewis Hamilton

    1. yeah yeah Boris, so you’ve been saying on every F1 group you can think of.
      Perhaps if Lewis could stop getting beat by drivers in slower cars you’ll cheer up a bit.

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