Jean Todt believes the dominance that Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes now enjoy in Formula 1 is greater than that which Michael Schumacher and Ferrari achieved.
Todt was Ferrari’s boss when the German won five drivers’ championships in a row, from 2000 to 2004, and the team bagged six straight constructors’ championships in a streak which began a year earlier.
Schumacher had arrived at Maranello as a two-time world champion after claiming titles with Benetton, with Hamilton’s triumph in the 2020 season meaning that they are now tied on seven each.
In getting there, the Briton broke Schumacher’s record for grand prix wins during the last campaign, moving the benchmark from 91 to 95.
Mercedes as a whole also surpassed a Ferrari record by taking out the constructors’ championship yet again, making for seven in a row in Formula 1’s hybrid era and preserving its sweep of championship doubles in that time.
Todt, now the FIA’s President, thinks this era is more dominant than the Scuderia’s when he was at the helm, even if it is difficult to choose between the two.
“I think we are talking about different persons, different ingredients,” he said.
“The only thing really we can compare is seven against seven. But otherwise, on one side, you had a very structured organised German team, with a very talented, extra talented driver.
“And on the other side, you had one Italian team with different mentality, a different approach, which became a well-structured, well-organised and also a great driver, Michael Schumacher.
“I feel – and I’m sure I will be quoted for that – the supremacy, the dominance of Mercedes and Lewis is bigger than the one we had at the time with Ferrari and Michael.
“And credit to them, the car is very reliable. Apart from the second Bahrain race which was missed by Lewis, in two years he did not miss to score points in a race.
“It’s absolutely outstanding. And the driver is not doing any mistakes. It’s just a combination again.”
Todt also gave credit to Hamilton for his team spirit, in addition to the Briton’s own performances.
“I’ve been very impressed, but I did not wait until 2020 to be impressed,” remarked the Frenchman.
“You just mentioned that he is celebrating seven times being a world champion, so I’ve been impressed at least six times before.
“I’m also impressed by the continuity of what his team have been able to secure. We are in a world where it’s not only a sportsman or a sportswoman, it’s a man and a machine, and here, it’s the best example of outstanding team spirit, team work.
“And I must give also a lot of credit to Lewis every time he speaks about the success, he speaks about the team behind him for the success.
“I’m very impressed and clearly that does explain why the records, some have been beaten, some have been equal.”