All down to qualifying says Todt

Ferrari's sporting director Jean Todt yesterday said that his team's qualifying positions were responsible for the team's third and eighth places in yesterday's Monaco Grand Prix. "Monaco is a circuit where you have to start in front," emphasised...

Ferrari's sporting director Jean Todt yesterday said that his team's qualifying positions were responsible for the team's third and eighth places in yesterday's Monaco Grand Prix. "Monaco is a circuit where you have to start in front," emphasised Todt. "I repeat that you have to have enough fuel for your first stint which is a new element this year for the Monaco Grand Prix but Monaco is still a circuit where it's difficult to overtake. So it's all down to qualifying, at the start or during refueling which was the case today."

The reliability of his rivals, the talent of the drivers and strategy all played their part in the team's result, said Todt. "It was a particularly difficult race where the first eight on the grid finished in the first eight places. That's to say, the cars were reliable, the drivers didn't make mistakes and finally the grid positions and the fuel stops made the difference. Michael (Schumacher) started fifth and finished third, Rubens (Barrichello) started seventh and finished eighth, having been overtaken at the start and wasn't able to get his place back. Michael managed to pick up two places after the first refuelling stop."

Asked if the increased use of electronics has resulted in cars that are too easy to drive, even on a circuit as difficult and twisty as Monaco, Todt said that things haven't changed that much recently. "There are electronics, of course, but there were just as many last year. Having said that, the cars are more and more reliable and so with the new regulations, with cars having to start with a certain amount of fuel in order to start the race, things are a little more uncertain."

Jean Todt was asked about Kimi Raikkonen, the McLaren driver who has only been off the rostrum once in seven races this season, yet is only in his second year with a top team. "I don't think he's that inexperienced. He's in his third year in Grand Prix racing. He has a good car, he's in a good team, he has the whole package. There's no reason to underestimate his qualities and talents and if, after seven Grands Prix, he's in the lead of the championship with a four point lead, it means that he's driven some remarkable races."

Todt said that the team's situation on Sunday really evolved from practice and qualifying on the first day of practice, Thursday. "I said that on Thursday we had the feeling that we had a package which was in fact not as strong, which we were expecting after first practice but we know that the rubber comes on the track and we know that things change, temperature, lots of components. Quite simply, we were too inconsistent. We had some up and down sides during the race. It wasn't possible to catch the cars in front. We thought we could do it, as I said before."

But Todt wasn't complaining about his situation. "Listen, we're not saying that we're particularly worried. We're simply conscious that it's a very open and difficult championship and so we would prefer to have a 40 point lead as we had last year, but we are aware that what happened last year was something which happens once in an era."

-ferrari-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Kimi Raikkonen , Jean Todt
Teams Ferrari , McLaren