Ferrari’s vice chairman wants to sign Max Verstappen

Charles Leclerc was competing in GP3 when Max Verstappen claimed his maiden F1 win in 2016.

Ferrari vice chairman Piero Ferrari believes Charles Leclerc can be “equal” to reigning World Champion Max Verstappen, with the Dutchman’s experience currently being the difference between them.

Leclerc and Verstappen battled throughout the first half of last season, with it having looked for a while like the pair would duel for the 2022 Drivers’ Championship.

Following a mix of driver errors, strategic mishaps and reliability gremlins, Verstappen ended up cruising to a second consecutive crown, leaving Leclerc to finish second.

Many questioned last season if the pressure of being in a title fight got the better of the Ferrari driver, who infamously crashed whilst leading at the French Grand Prix.

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2023 has so far seen more driver errors from Leclerc at times when he was clearly pushing beyond the limit, with the 25-year-old having crashed twice at the same corner in Miami.

The second of which came in the closing minutes of Q3, whilst he was in contention for a front row start.

With that in mind, Piero puts a lot of Leclerc’s problems down to him still lacking experience, with Verstappen having made the move to F1 three years before the Monegasque.

It means that despite being the same age, Verstappen is currently in his ninth season at the pinnacle of motorsport, whereas Leclerc is in the opening stages of his sixth campaign.

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Piero still remembers Verstappen’s first win back in 2016, when Leclerc was racing in GP3.

“He is incredibly fast. He was already driving in F1 when he didn’t even have a driver’s license in his possession,” Piero told Autosprint, as reported by

“I was there when he got his first victory in Barcelona. He made his mistakes after that, his accidents. Now he is young and already has a lot of experience. He is a great driver who is now at the peak of his career.”

Based on that, Piero is confident that Leclerc “can still grow” and defeat Verstappen, with the Dutchman’s superior experience being the key difference between them currently.

“Charles has the speed to be equal to Verstappen,” added Piero.

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“But he has less experience, in terms of number of GPs. Leclerc can still grow, he will grow…. “

Piero also thinks the same can be said for Leclerc’s team-mate Carlos Sainz, who he thinks is also yet to show his “true full potential”.

“Bravo, I think we have not yet seen his true full potential, we are waiting for it,” Piero said, when asked about Sainz’s recent performances.