Ross Brawn has predicted Charles Leclerc to be far less accommodating to Sebastian Vettel than Kimi Raikkonen was at Ferrari.
Brawn, who dominated Formula 1 with Michael Schumacher and Ferrari in the early 2000s, claims Raikkonen was more willing to aid Vettel than Leclerc will be.
“I don’t imagine Charles Leclerc is going to be quite as accommodating as Kimi was on occasions,” Brawn, the sport’s managing director of motorsport, told the Formula 1 website.
“Kimi is his own man, don’t get me wrong, but I think Kimi knew what the lay of the land was in the team.”
Brawn also commented on Vettel’s decline in the second part of the 2018 season, as a series of team and driver errors allowed Lewis Hamilton the opportunity to go on and claim a fifth World Championship.
“Seb had a mixed 2018,” explained Brawn.
“He’s had some very good performances, and played a big part in taking the team forward, but in the end, Seb and the team didn’t deliver.
“They had a strong year but they have got to make that next step and deliver – and that’s Seb and the team.
“I don’t know the dynamic or chemistry in the team or Seb’s relationship in the team or how that all works. He made one or two errors, which is unfortunate but with drivers, that can happen.
“The team seemed to make a wrong turn technically for several races and then they came back again to an older spec which corrected their form.”
“As a driver you have to be involved with those things, you can’t be a neutral passenger.
“I recall when I was at Ferrari, if we had something we were uncertain about, Michael would be banging my door down to talk about it and spend time with the engineers and work until he got himself comfortable with what was going on.
“That motivates a team and can be a catalyst for people to look at things in a different way or different perspective.”
Brawn now expects Leclerc to rise to the occasion, as he faces the biggest challenge of his young career so far when he takes his Ferrari into the new season.
“Leclerc has been pretty impressive,” claimed Brawn.
“He’s not had a tough reference yet and that will come in 2019.
“Being at Ferrari brings enormous pressure and he’ll have the pressure of racing against a world champion, a multi-world champion, so he’s going to have a pretty challenging year.
“But, from what I have seen so far, I expect him to do a very respectable job.”