Todt warns Red Bull over complacency


Former Ferrari boss, Jean Todt has warned Red Bull not to be complacent as it heads into the new season.

His warning comes at a time the sport fears that the Austrian team will continue its 2023 level of domination, a season in which it won 21 of 22 races.

While team boss Christian Horner keeps talking of convergence, yet thankfully stopping short of playing Toto Wolff's underdog card as witnessed throughout Mercedes long years of domination, and teams return to the drawing board in an effort to emulate the success of the Austrian team's interpretation of the rules, Todt advises the Briton to learn from history.

The Frenchman was the driving force behind the dream team at Maranello that saw Michael Schumacher, Ross Brawn and Rory Byrne dominate from 1999 to 2004.

However, all that changed in 2005 when a rules overhaul saw the Italian team lose out to Renault and McLaren.

"I see similarities between both eras," Todt tells La Stampa. "Red Bull has created a winning team with a driver who is extraordinary, very professional, intelligent and fantastic.

"But don't you remember 2005? The same team, the same drivers after a season full of victories and although we had Schumacher, we stopped being competitive.

"We were fast again the following year," he adds, "but we ended up losing the title due to reliability problems and before, Michael had already announced his retirement from Formula 1, although he then returned in 2010.

"In that period, we became World Champions again with Kimi in 2007 and we lost in 2008 in the last few metres with Felipe."

That period of Ferrari domination ended over 20 years in the relative wilderness for the Maranello outfit which hadn't achieved a drivers' title since 1979. However, despite having the likes of Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel in its cars, it is now 16 years since Raikkonen secured the title, and while the Italian team was the only outfit other than Red Bull to claim a win last year, strategic and reliability issues continued to plague its efforts.

Todt eventually took up the role of FIA president, and those who have always questioned the relationship between the sport's governing body and F1's oldest team will not be surprised to hear that the Frenchman remains devoted to his former team.

"Today, I support Leclerc," he admits. "My son has followed him since he was racing in karting and he is a great driver. He deserves the opportunity to fight to win a World Championship in the future."

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Published: 24/01/2024
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