Todt avoids comment on Stepney saga

Ferrari team principal Jean Todt quite reasonably said that he would prefer to talk about his team's performance after Sunday's win by Kimi Raikkonen at Silverstone, but it was no surprise that he was questioned most about another subject, that of...

Ferrari team principal Jean Todt quite reasonably said that he would prefer to talk about his team's performance after Sunday's win by Kimi Raikkonen at Silverstone, but it was no surprise that he was questioned most about another subject, that of the case of the drawings found in the home of a top engineer from a rival team.

Jean Todt, Scuderia Ferrari, Ferrari CEO.
Photo by xpb.cc.

Todt, however, was quite clear. "Unfortunately, at the moment I am not allowed to make any kind of comment. But it's just a question of time before we have more detail. I wish I could answer and give more detail now, but as it's a court case, I'm simply not allowed to."

Todt did explain how the legal procedures have come about. "The first procedure was that our lawyers together with some independent experts visited the house of one of the top management people from a competitor's team. They decided after that, that they had some facts which allowed them to move forward. And to move forward is to go to the High Court on Tuesday."

He also confirmed that there is a legal procedure taking place in Italy, believed to be against former employee Nigel Stepney. Todt also confirmed that "we will have to answer to some questions from the FIA in the coming days."

It was pointed out that Stepney had said in the British newspapers on race day morning that he knows where 'the bodies are buried,' referring to processes put in place within Ferrari in the last 10 years that should remain a secret. Was Todt concerned that he could talk about secrets inside Ferrari?

Todt replied, "it makes me smile, and it is good sometimes. But after 10 years, or the last 14 years, it is true it is like being in the family. There are so many things that do happen. But we have had over 14 years with the team some good times and some tough times, but nothing that cannot come out. So you know very well in this business that if something has to come out it does not wait 10 years. We have about 900 people employed in the company, so the answer is quite easy."

Todt was also asked how difficult it had been to keep everyone involved in the team concentrated on the British Grand Prix over the past week, given everything that has been happening. "Quite easy," replied Todt, "quite easy. Fortunately there is a very good spirit, people are focused. The only thing they want to see is how to improve the situation, how to move forward in the championship, and we try to keep other things away from them."

"I'm definitely not happy about this situation. I feel it's unnecessary to arrive at this kind of situation but unfortunately that's the situation we have to face. But considering the team, it's not something they are involved in. They are aware of it and the only thing where they are focused is to try to be competitive."

It had been suggested that Raikkonen had finally mastered the Bridgestone tyres, hence his two victories in eight days. "The Bridgestone tyres are in a way completely new for everybody, because you are well aware that the specifications which were given by Bridgestone are completely different from what we had in the past, due to only one tyre company being involved at the moment in Formula One."

"So for us, when we started with those tyres last year, at the end of the year, when we had those tyres together with the other teams, it was completely new for us and then, probably, some car specifications, some way of driving of some drivers is more or less suitable to those tyres.

"I will also say that Kimi sometime was very happy with the car. I just think of the first race in Australia, where he was on pole, quickest lap during the race, won the race and he had some more difficult races. We knew that looking back at the races like Monte Carlo, Canada, Indianapolis, we were not at the level of our major competitor and in Magny Cours and here, mainly during the race, we were probably performing better than them."

"I don't have any idea what will be the situation for the coming races. That's why we need to push hard and try to improve as much as we can, on the car and definitely on the reliability, because we have had too many problems with the reliability since the beginning of the season."

That was partially a reference to Felipe Massa stalling on the grid. "When Felipe went to the grid, he informed us by radio that finishing the burn-out the engine stalled," explained Todt. "For the time being, we have not understood what was the reason so hopefully we will understand in the coming hours and we will be able to give you the information, but we don't know yet why it happened. Anyway, it's something that was wrong with the car, he didn't do anything which caused the problem."

-credit: ferrari

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Felipe Massa , Jean Todt
Teams Ferrari