Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro's Jean Todt attempted to explain the problems his team is having this year following Michael Schumacher's fifth place and Rubens Barrichello's tenth in Sunday's German Grand Prix. Michael Schumacher and Jean ...
Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro's Jean Todt attempted to explain the problems his team is having this year following Michael Schumacher's fifth place and Rubens Barrichello's tenth in Sunday's German Grand Prix.
"Clearly, for part of this season we have been struggling with grip in qualifying," said Todt. "We slightly improved the situation, mainly with the choice of tyres Michael made for this race. And then we used to be very strong during the race. At the moment we are not strong during the race." Todt went on to say that other drivers, when they saw Schumacher in 8th, 9th, tenth position, then expected a strong finish from Ferrari.
But Todt said "we need to identify how to improve the grip on the car so we may find a solution soon, we may not find one. I'm sure we will find it, but I'm far from knowing when exactly we will find it. We just need to focus, to concentrate and to address the problem well and we will solve the situation. I would have preferred to solve it quicker and earlier but it's not the case."
Over the past few years, Ferrari has been close to winning a championship at this stage of the season. Todt found this year "a big change. I don't say it's a good change, but it's a big change.
"Of course it's frustrating, but we know that when we do this business you have some ups, some downs. We have had some downs, we have had some ups and now we have some downs but still, motivation is clear.
"When you see Michael's race today, he did one of his best races: fighting all the time, but the problem is that in this business you must fight with the package you are driving and at the moment, he could not do better. It's quite easy to analyse the race."
"You see that for 20/22 laps, we had a reasonable trend; then he started to drop a little bit and then when Button passed him he was already losing quite a lot and then he lost 28 seconds in 23 laps. So it's clear that we lack grip, and we don't lack grip all the time. It's an evolution and our evolution is bigger than for the others.
"If you look at the evolution of the times, it's clear that we miss grip because of degradation of our tyres during the course of the race, or we don't have enough grip for qualifying, or we have an excess of degradation during the course of the race. But sometimes we don't see in private testing what we see during the race, because the temperatures are different, because the rubber on the tarmac is different, because there are so many elements."
Todt said that Ferrari was getting thick-skinned about its lack of success. "I would say that we have had so many delusions, even if the word is a bit too strong, but until we see some substantial improvement we just prefer to see the thing in a negative way rather than in a positive way in order to have a good surprise, so we are prepared for a bad surprise at the moment."
Todt says that his situation with tyre supplier Bridgestone is one of give and take following their success together in the past. "At the moment we have taken, we are giving. If we are struggling, as we are now, it would be helpful to have one or two other teams but I'm not the one to make that decision. It is Bridgestone with the team owners from other teams."
As for his championship chances, his hopes are still alive: "Drivers: very very difficult. You have a clear guide, and particularly when you see the first 12 races. So mathematically we can (win it) but it seems very far from being easy. Manufacturers? It all depends if and when we are able to react to the present situation. If we would be able to react at the next race, then it's possible. If not, each race makes it more and more difficult."