Former Scuderia Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali is impressed with Formula 1’s current crop of young talent, both in terms of quantity and quality.
In 2016, Max Verstappen became at 18-years-old the youngest winner in the history of Grand Prix racing, and the Dutchman’s success has undoubtedly instilled confidence in teenage talent in F1.
Lance Stroll, Charles Leclerc, Lando Norris and George Russell followed in Verstappen’s footsteps as spring chickens entrusted with a race seat by teams.
Domenicali, now the CEO of Lamborghini but who also heads the FIA’s Single-Seater Commission, says the amount of talent that is currently flourishing at the highest level of motorsport is quite remarkable.
“After many years we are now facing a new situation: there have never been so many strong drivers,” Domenical told Italian radio programme GR Parlamento.
“It is providing added value to the championship and it means the supply chain set up by the FIA under F1 is working.”
While Verstappen and Leclerc lead the charge among the young racers, Domenicali is equally impressed by others.
“We have young drivers like Leclerc and Verstappen in the lead, but behind them are Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz,” added the Italian.
“In terms of drivers there is no scarcity of resources.”
Overall however, the former Scuderia boss felt challenged to provide a clear drivers’ ranking.
“It’s difficult,” he admitted. “Lewis Hamilton is about to win another title and it means he has entered the Olympus of F1 drivers
“Leclerc is without doubt strong, and appears to be twice his age from a mental point of view, while Verstappen, at first hot-tempered, now seems to have found a different approach.”
Finally, the 54-year-old Lamborghini executive also offered his opinion on Ferrari’s current state of affairs.
“They have all the cards in their hands for a winning return,” he said.
“This year they’ve collected less than they should have, for many reasons that ultimately make a difference.
“Without the problem in Bahrain and other issues that have characterized the season, the end of 2019 would be different because the car has improved so much in recent months
“I think they will have a fantastic chance in 2020. Binotto is extraordinary and will handle what really matters: the management of two strong drivers.
“To transform that into a strength and not a weakness, the team must think clearly and without any discussion.”