Ferrari team principal Jean Todt was adamant when it came to his team's performance in Sunday's French Grand Prix. Michael Schumacher had finished third behind Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen, while teammate Rubens Barrichello had failed to ...
Ferrari team principal Jean Todt was adamant when it came to his team's performance in Sunday's French Grand Prix. Michael Schumacher had finished third behind Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen, while teammate Rubens Barrichello had failed to score, finishing ninth.
"It was a big disappointment," admitted Todt. "In the light of what we saw on Friday and Saturday in free practice and in qualifying I was hoping that we would be stronger. It's true that Michael had a tough start like a lot of cars because he was following Trulli who was slow in front of them. It created a big gap to the leader of the race, but still, in all fairness, I don't think it would have changed the final result a lot for Michael."
Observers had thought that Ferrari were back as race winners due to their performance in free practice on Friday and Saturday but the news wasn't all bad. "We thought the same thing as well so we made a mistake. Basically, in the race, we never succeeded in matching the rhythm of our main rivals and Michael, nevertheless, still managed to hold onto third place which, in terms of the championship, isn't bad, even though we think it insufficient."
"Rubens, apart from a lack of pure performance also had a problem with brakes which also lost him time and he found himself at the wrong end of the field in terms of strategy, in terms of traffic which left him in ninth place and which prevented us from taking even a single point in the Constructors championship."
"We thought we had better pace. I think the others had less difference between qualifying and the race than we had. Everybody was much slower yesterday than Saturday because of the temperature but we were over a second slower than the others. You see Michael's time, 1.2s and Rubens was 1.5s I think, so that's what was missing today. It was the same for everybody. Just simply because in these conditions we were not as quick as the others."
"We made some improvement in qualifying and today I would say that what we got in qualifying we lost in the race, compared to the previous races. So we were more ahead but we did not get the advantage of using it. If we could have done we would have been quicker during the race."
Todt said that analysis would be needed to find what was missing. "It's too early at the moment. We have to look at it carefully with all our other technical partners and make an in depth analysis so that we work out what happened exactly in order to understand it for future races."
But the schedule of three more races in four weeks makes development difficult. "It's more difficult, harder, but we still try," said Todt. Asked whether they could turn things around before the end of the season, Todt said "whatever, I will do everything we can to try and turn it around. Whether we manage it or not is not possible to predict.
Todt was full of praise for winner Fernando Alonso and his Renault team. "Remarkable" was his verdict on their performance this year. "It's good work by the team which they've done with Alonso who makes almost no mistakes. He finishes nearly all his race, and we've had the privilege to have a similar performance during years past so we know that when things go well, it allows you to score good points and win championships."
"So that happened to him today, but things aren't over yet. I think we can still see a good battle for the Drivers' and Constructors' title because there are still three teams with three drivers who can still win the championship."
Asked if Alonso reminded him of Michael Schumacher when he first met him at Ferrari, Todt said "no. He reminds me of Schumacher in terms of a driver, he's a great driver but I think as people they are fundamentally different."