Ferrari team principal Jean Todt sees the second half of this 2003 World Championship as being closely fought between four equally competitive teams and two similarly competitive tyre companies, after the first half of the season which was reached...
Ferrari team principal Jean Todt sees the second half of this 2003 World Championship as being closely fought between four equally competitive teams and two similarly competitive tyre companies, after the first half of the season which was reached after Sunday's Canadian Grand Prix. At the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal, Michael Schumacher took the lead of the Drivers' championship and Ferrari moved into the lead of the Constructors' series.McLaren, but they lost Raikkonen from qualifying and then Coulthard had some problem and eventually retired. Four strong teams."
The race, which saw Michael Schumacher come from third on the grid to win, was a reversal in form for previous races, said Todt. "It was a little bit like revenge for the Australian and Monaco Grands Prix where on each occasion we weren't favoured during the race and weren't at the top of the result sheet. But this time it was Michael who was the leader who remained the leader, so it was very good.
"Many of the races have been very open this year so it has been very important to be in front and to be able to contain the rhythm of the other competitors. It was very important to do that on a circuit that is very difficult and demanding, particularly the brakes. Michael drove a great race in tactically containing the competitors behind him.
"It was the first refueling stop and the choice of the right moment for the second fuel stop which was also vital in order to move ahead because the cars would then continue to the finish without stopping again."
Todt particularly enjoyed the fact that the race was turned in the favour of Ferrari. "A competitive person such as I appreciates a win like this and when you come from behind, it is appreciated even more. Having said that, if we win all races by a large margin, it doesn't devalue them at all."
Todt admits that the new points-scoring system has not favoured Michael Schumacher. "It's true that it seems a little strange that Michael, who is the only driver to have won more than one Grand Prix this year, - he's won four - is only three points in the lead over Raikkonen due to the new points scoring system. It goes to show you just have to win with this new points scoring system."
Todt also says that "a leveling of values" has characterised the start of the season. "Last year, Bridgestone were by far the best tyre manufacturer with the best tyres and the immediate competitor has caught up this year. Equally the return of Renault to the top means that it's a fight between four teams.
"One could say that Williams have closed right up in the last two Grands Prix, but we also know that things could be different at the next race. But there are three pretenders for wins at each race and for the title."
Even though the competition has increased, Todt said that there was "no panic." But Bridgestone were "making a tremendous effort." This week, Ferrari are testing with three cars at Silverstone, with both race drivers plus Felipe Massa tyre testing.
So even though it was a significant milestone, surpassing Ferrari's 3000 World Championship points and 999 for Michael, Todt pointed out that "since I'm with Ferrari it's the sixtieth win, so that's good. We must look ahead of that, we must try to improve the situation, to the sixty first."