Ferrari plagued by lack of grip

"There was definitely no light here. It was very dark," said Ferrari team principal Jean Todt after the inaugural Turkish Grand Prix on Sunday when asked if the light that appeared at the end of the tunnel after the Hungarian Grand Prix three...

"There was definitely no light here. It was very dark," said Ferrari team principal Jean Todt after the inaugural Turkish Grand Prix on Sunday when asked if the light that appeared at the end of the tunnel after the Hungarian Grand Prix three weeks before had been extinguished in Istanbul.

Michael Schumacher and Jean Todt.
Photo by Ferrari Media Center.

"Yes, we saw some light but we knew that we had a completely different specification of tyres here. We came here with some older specifications because what we had in Budapest was not going to be used here, could not be used here."

"We knew that in all fairness, arriving at a new circuit, you can always have one unexpected surprise, but on Friday morning, we understood that the surprise was not the right one we could have expected."

The Ferraris struggled for grip all weekend. Michael Schumacher had several off-circuit excursions, one of which saw him condemned to start from the back row of the grid, and in spite of a sparkling opening lap during which he picked up eight places, he would eventually retire after a collision with another competitor. Rubens Barrichello drove to a gripless tenth place.

And that lack of grip continues to plague Ferrari. It is, says Todt, due to a combination of a lack of aerodynamic and mechanical efficiency, and the tyres themselves. "We are the only top team with Bridgestone, so if we would be with the same tyres with another very top team it would be easier to answer, but at the moment we don't know. We sometimes try to compare with Jordan and Minardi, but they don't use the same (specification of) tyres."

"This year, the car is again a new specification of aerodynamics, one engine for two races, so it's different from last year. We supply the same engine to Sauber so we have some way of comparing and for sure we cannot say that it's one part the engine, one part the tyres, one part the aerodynamics, but let's say the package is not giving what we used to have in the past and is not giving what we are expecting."

"But saying that, we were using the same car in Budapest with completely different tyres, and we saw that we were very quick in qualifying, we were very quick for the first third of the race. Then we started to drop performance so it gives us and our partners some indications. But then you have to analyse those indications, you have to work, it's a very complicated thing. If it would be easy, we would not be facing this situation."

"The biggest difference from last year to this year is the tyre rule. We could change tyres last year and as I said three weeks ago, if we could have changed the tyres in Budapest we would have won the race, it was clear. But I'm not complaining about that. Let's say that the one tyre for qualifying and the race has been very bad to us so we are paying mainly for this effect."

But, as always, Todt refused to criticise his tyre supplier. "You know in life you have minuses and pluses, and the pluses are still so big compared to the minuses. The pluses are so much due to their support so at the moment, it's normal, we are always reacting to what's just happened but when we do a strategy consideration, a strategic plan, we have to think back over the last five years."

And the situation could change in the future, as it is suggested that Toyota and Red Bull Racing could change to Bridgestone next year, which Todt approves of. "We will do combined testing and also they will do some mileage. Then we will definitely get some advantage out of that."

But Todt still has goals for 2005. "Honestly, I want to finish in the best position in the table as possible. I've lost the dream to win both championships, but now at least we have to secure third position if possible."

-ferrari-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Michael Schumacher , Rubens Barrichello , Jean Todt
Teams Ferrari , Red Bull Racing , Sauber , Minardi , Jordan