Verstappen’s fiery competitiveness and aggression on the track, coupled with his assault on a third consecutive F1 championship, has drawn comparisons with the legendary Schumacher.
But Todt, the ex-Ferrari team principal who guided the most iconic years of the German’s career, sees only similarity.
He told Corriere della Sera about Verstappen: “Fast, he makes few mistakes.
“He’s a fighter like Michael. But on a human level I know Max too little to judge him. “Michael might have seemed a bit presumptuous and obnoxious when he ran, but it was an attitude that served to hide his shyness.
He was humble, he always questioned himself. He never blamed the team, not even when the brakes broke at Silverstone through our fault.
“I don’t make comparisons, but he and Max have one thing in common…
“They drive for the best team and that helps.”
Ferrari, meanwhile, have been left behind in Red Bull’s and Mercedes’ shadows over the past few years.
The Scuderia have not crowned an F1 drivers’ champion since Kimi Raikkonen in 2007.
Charles Leclerc, last year’s runner-up in the F1 standings, already appears to have little hope of the title this year after failing to finish two of the first three grands prix.
“In F1 there are good ones, and then a very small group of very good people of which Leclerc is part,” Todt said.
He added about Ferrari’s barren years without a champion: “Without winning a title, but they won races.
“Ferrari has remained, since I left, one of the best teams in F1.
“Something is missing, it is the protagonist but not yet for the championship. Let’s give them time to show that they are able to take the last step.”
Mattia Binotto was replaced by Fred Vasseur as team principal this season, while there have been several other changes among key personnel at Maranello in the early stages of 2023 too.
Todt insisted that Ferrari must employ the best staff: “Not just technicians. It is imperative to have the best in every area.
“A company is judged by the front door. From the way an operator answers the phone. You have to take the best ones and then coordinate them by creating a fertile environment.”