Ferrari team principal Jean Todt admitted to disappointment following his team's second and fifth places in the British Grand Prix at Silverstone on Sunday. "I thought we had a chance of winning," said Todt afterwards, "and if you come expecting...
Ferrari team principal Jean Todt admitted to disappointment following his team's second and fifth places in the British Grand Prix at Silverstone on Sunday. "I thought we had a chance of winning," said Todt afterwards, "and if you come expecting to be able to win and you finish behind the first placed car, then sometimes it's a little bit of a disappointment, yes."
Ferrari had gone very well in testing at Barcelona the week before Silverstone, but that shouldn't necessarily have been seen as an indicator, said Todt. "Fernando Alonso was not there, if I remember correctly. And from one track to another one, things are different. One specification of tyres performing well on one circuit doesn't mean that they will be good on another circuit. We were competitive, but not enough to pretend to finish better than second and fifth with Michael (Schumacher) and Felipe (Massa) today."
Ferrari didn't test at Silverstone earlier this year. If they had, might that have changed things? "We will never know. It's always easy after I think we finished in front of most of the teams who did test at Silverstone, so, simply, I think we lost because there was a team who was quicker than us."
In the early stages, Michael Schumacher was held up behind Kimi Raikkonen. If he had been able to pass earlier, might he have been able to challenge for the lead? "Michael, at the beginning, probably could have been quicker if he had not been behind Raikkonen," continued Todt, "but he was behind. And then in four laps Alonso managed to take eight seconds off Michael and that was the end of it. And Fisichella passed Felipe in the pit stop. In a way, it was a good move that we managed to have Michael able to pass Kimi at the second pit stop."
But Todt is ever the realist, pointing out that the Renaults were simply quicker. "Two or three tenths of a second is not a lot, but if you multiply it by 60, it makes twelve to 18 seconds and they were definitely quicker in qualifying yesterday."
Schumacher took second place off Kimi Raikkonen at the second pit stop thanks to a blistering 'out' lap after his stop. "He was the only driver using a new set of tyres," explained Todt. "He had fuel for 19 laps and he did a very strong 'out' lap, quickest in sectors two and three. But the 'in' lap was very strong as well."
Although the next two races in North America are back-to-back doubleheaders, Todt is not convinced that Renault's performance is unstoppable. "We are going to test some new developments, some new adaptations to the car next week. Those two circuits are very quick circuits and we have a very efficient car, so I think we should be competitive, but how competitive the others will be we will see that when we are there. We are testing tyres, set-up and new parts at Circuit Paul Ricard with Massa and (test driver) Badoer."
But Todt is under no illusions as to Fernando Alonso's achievement so far this year. "He has scored 74 points out of 80 so it's remarkable. He's quick, competitive and reliable, so it makes things more difficult for the others. Michael has 51 so it all depends on how the next ten races go."
Todt also rejected claims that he had been in discussions with David Coulthard over a possible opening at Ferrari next year. "I can only comment that we never had any contact with David Coulthard, never. That's the only thing I can comment."
Todt also spoke about the star of GP2, Lewis Hamilton, who is being run by his son Nicolas. Did he talk to his son about Lewis? "No, my son talks to me about him! He gets on very well with him, he likes the guy, he's low profile, a quick driver. But from what I understand, he has had, for several years, a contract with one of our competitors and if I see the team principal involved at the end of each race, he seems to have a strong intention with him, but that's just my personal feeling."
"He did a very good job. He did some good overtaking but if you saw the race yesterday he was very good, he did the quickest time during the race. Only third time in qualifying."
Finally, Todt backed FIA president Max Mosley's plans for the future of Formula One, including his energy storage ideas for hybrid engines. "On paper, it's an interesting project. We at Ferrari need to understand more, that's why I've asked some of my people from the road car division to understand a bit more because then it's something which could be of interest for us, only if we have strong evidence that it's something which can be linked to road car use. You know, for us, it's very important, the synergy between Formula One and GT road cars. If it's only something you can use in Formula One and not in road cars, we would not be interested."