F1 legend makes damning Ferrari admission amid Charles Leclerc mega-deal rumours

Formula 1 icon Mario Andretti has suggested reappointing a key Ferrari figure to revive the Italian team’s on-track performance.

As Ferrari grapples with a prolonged struggle to reclaim its former competitive edge in Formula 1, racing legend Mario Andretti has stepped forward with a striking solution to reinvigorate the Scuderia’s fortunes. 

Amidst a challenging season that has seen Ferrari strive for podium finishes while contending with Mercedes and Aston Martin for second place behind Red Bull, Andretti’s recommendation seeks to address the team’s current woes.

In an exclusive conversation with PlanetF1.com, 1978 F1 World Champion Mario Andretti delved into the heart of Ferrari’s struggles and proposed a dramatic shift in direction – the return of former Ferrari and Fiat chairman Luca di Montezemolo. 

Montezemolo was instrumental in revitalizing Ferrari during the 1990s, guiding them to multiple titles alongside team boss Jean Todt.

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Andretti’s words were direct and unambiguous: “Ferrari need to bring Montezemolo back.” He continued, “That’s my take on it. That’s my opinion.”

Delving deeper into the issue, Andretti expressed sympathy for Charles Leclerc, one of Ferrari’s star drivers. 

Regarding the swirling rumours about Leclerc’s purported long-term extension with Ferrari beyond 2024, Andretti commented, “I feel so badly for them, both [Charles] and Carlos [Sainz].”

Leclerc’s frustration with Ferrari’s current situation has been evident, leading Andretti to speculate on the team’s internal dynamics. 

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He remarked, “It’s hard to put your finger on that because it seems like something, even strategically, they’re not making all the best decisions. 

“That shows frustration to some degree, but the drivers somehow seem like they don’t have enough say in what’s going on.”

Andretti’s perspective on the matter is an outsider’s observation, emphasising his belief that the drivers are not to blame. 

He expressed his disappointment with the management of the race team, asserting, “It’s not the drivers. 

“They’re not providing the drivers with a winning situation at the moment.”

When questioned about the wisdom of a potential long-term renewal for Leclerc, given the team’s struggle under new team boss Fred Vasseur, Andretti acknowledged the lack of easy options for the Monegasque driver. 

He pondered, “Where would he go, at the moment? Even if there was say, a Red Bull, why would you want to be next to Max Verstappen? Max will always be number one.”

Andretti dissected the options available to Leclerc, pointing to the promising performance of McLaren, particularly with the emergence of Oscar Piastri. 

Andretti mused, “I think McLaren is OK in the setup for drivers, I can’t see a change there, so where else would Charles go?”

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In Andretti’s view, Leclerc is likely considering Ferrari’s historical ability to rebound from setbacks. 

He concluded, “Ferrari has been down before… and sooner or later, they’ll be resurgent because they have the tools, seemingly as much as any other team to be able to perform at the top level continuously. 

“I’m sure he’ll study the situation quite well before he does [sign a new long-term deal].”