Ex-Ferrari boss makes Juventus joke when asked about rumour

Ferrari are set to lose out to Red Bull on both world titles this season, with Max Verstappen potentially wrapping up the championship in Singapore.

Former Ferrari boss and ex-FIA president, Jean Todt, loved his time at the Scuderia, but has indicated that he would not be interested in a return.

The Frenchman joined the 16-time champions as general manager in 1994, and he oversaw all of Michael Schumacher’s five world titles with the team.

He would later become special adviser of the side in 2004, playing a role in Kimi Raikkonen’s success in 2007, as well as the teams’ title won by the Finn and Felipe Massa that year, and in 2008.

Todt left early on in 2009, and became president of the FIA several months later – a role he stepped down from last year after serving his maximum term of 12 years.

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The 76-year-old has done a lot for Formula 1 over the years, and he has been taking a well-earned break from it all this year, which has coincided with Ferrari’s return to the top.

However, after such a brilliant start to the season, Charles Leclerc has won three races, while Carlos Sainz has recorded one victory, and the Italian team have fallen well behind Red Bull in the title race.

Max Verstappen has 11 race wins to his name, and he leads Leclerc by 116 points going into the final six rounds of the season, while he and Sergio Perez have put the Austrian side 139 clear of the Scuderia.

It is another season that seems to have escaped the Maranello-based team, and this has put team principal, Mattia Binotto, under pressure.

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Would Todt return to the team to help redirect the ship? Probably not.

“Ferrari was the most beautiful chapter of my career but today I live things differently, I have a lot of respect for the work of excellence other teams do,” he said at the Trento Sports Festival.

“It was difficult but it was beautiful, and for me, difficult and beautiful are concepts that go together because the beautiful depends a lot on the difficulty of what you have done. And that’s how satisfaction is generated.”

The Pierrefort-born former FIA president told Binotto to filter out the negativity being aimed at him from the outside, because given where Ferrari had been for the previous two years, this season has been a huge step up.

“Each era is different, I don’t want to give advice. It is easy to give advice. The only one I can give him is to resist,” explained Todt.

“And then now Ferrari are doing very well. It seems to me people are not fully aware of this, Ferrari are back to winning.

“I think everyone – well, almost everyone – we would like to see Ferrari win championships, not just a few races.

“We can hope so for next year, because this year I don’t think it’s possible anymore. But to win, you need excellence at all levels. It is difficult to reach it and even more difficult to maintain it.

“It starts with excellence in detail. From the one who answers the phone in the company.”

Elaborating on the rumours linking him with a return to Ferrari, Todt quipped that he has also been linked with the same career path as former team principal Maurizio Arrivabene, who is now CEO of Juventus.

“I would have a doubt it was true news, there is a lot of news underneath that is not true,” he said.

“I had a breakfast in Turin with [Juventus FC chairman] Andrea Agnelli. So many saw me and many thought I should work with Juve!

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“It’s obvious when I was president of the FIA I often spoke with John Elkann, and we spoke often about Ferrari’s ambitions. 

“But there’s a difference between talking, sharing hopes and working together. I think the chapters are meant to go from one to the other.”

Ferrari’s constructors’ success in 2008 remains the last title they have brought back to Maranello.