The Moneqasque driver realistically has no chance of beating Red Bull’s Max Verstappen to this year’s world title and trails his nearest rival by 116 points with six races remaining. 

Leclerc led the championship after winning two of the opening three rounds of the campaign but a catalogue of strategic blunders, reliability failures and driver errors have blown his chances of winning this year’s world championship. 

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Todt, who led Ferrari to a total of 14 world championship titles before later serving as the president of the FIA until last year, believes Leclerc has the potential to be a world champion but “still lacks something”. 

"Charles is already a great champion,” the 76-year-old told Italy’s Gazzetta dello Sport. “He still lacks something. I hope he has it soon. 

Todt failed to elaborate on what exactly he feels Leclerc is missing, replying simply: “He misses something.”

"Ferrari at one point had the best car in the championship,” he continued. 

“Then he missed certain opportunities, I think of strategy, of a Safety Car that entered at the wrong time, of reliability problems. 

“Several episodes that have cost [him]. We need to reflect on this to prevent them from happening again. Never leave anything taken for granted. 

“And if you cannot leave anything for granted, then there will be all the ingredients to be champions.”

Todt also spoke about current Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto, who has come under fire for the Scuderia’s failure to maintain a championship challenge. 

“Every era is different,” he said. “I don't want to give advice. It's easy to give advice.

“The only one I can give him is to resist. And then now Ferrari is doing very well. It seems to me that people do not fully realise this. Ferrari is back to winning. 

“I think almost everyone would like to see Ferrari win the championships, not just a few races. We can hope for next year, because this year I don't think it's possible anymore. 

"But to win you need excellence at all levels. It is difficult to achieve it, and even more so to maintain it. It starts with excellence in detail. 

“You cannot make two mistakes the same, if it happens it means that there is something to change.”