Ferrari team principal Jean Todt was in pensive mood after drivers Felipe Massa and Michael Schumacher finished fifth and sixth in Sunday's Malaysian Grand Prix. It had been a tough weekend for Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro due to engine problems...
Ferrari team principal Jean Todt was in pensive mood after drivers Felipe Massa and Michael Schumacher finished fifth and sixth in Sunday's Malaysian Grand Prix. It had been a tough weekend for Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro due to engine problems which saw the team change engines three times for which they were penalised ten places on the grid. That meant they started 14th (Michael Schumacher) and 21st (Felipe Massa). Yet it was Massa who just preceded Schumacher at the chequered flag.
"I would say that if we started from the 20th lap it was quite good," said Todt after the 56 lap race. "However, we had to start the race at the first lap and needless to say that starting from where we started, we can only be pleased with the final result.
"Even if it's not pleasing, generally speaking, it's the best result we could expect to achieve today (Sunday). It has been a tough weekend because we had to identify a potential risk of reliability on Michael's engine, and a clear problem that Felipe had at the first race, which meant that we decided to change his engine before this race. We changed it again this morning, always trying to take as little risk as possible.
"Otherwise the package was quite good," continued Todt, "even though I feel we need to be a bit more competitive. Bridgestone have definitely made some progress with the tyres and it's quite interesting to have some other good teams with Bridgestone, because we can see some developments which seem promising for the future."
Todt went on to confirm that the engine problems suffered have mainly been solved and shouldn't reoccur. "I think we already did one step forward with today's engine. I think we've understood quite a lot of things. That's why the factory has been working quite hard and it's been positive.
"The problem has been around the piston area. We have a specific failure that comes from the component so it's around that. However, sometimes the final problem is a result of different combinations. The new engines were of a different specification. At the moment we are still analysing the problems, before making a final judgement. We need to have very accurate analysis."
Todt went on to say that he wasn't unhappy that Massa had finished ahead of Michael Schumacher, even if championships positions might dictate a different preference in future. "After two races, it's too early. Felipe could not defend his chances in his first Grand Prix in Bahrain, so I think he did a pretty good job today."
"He was on a different strategy and considering the traffic Michael had, he could not take advantage of the two pit stops, and Felipe could take advantage of one pit stop. It's too early, at the moment. I was very happy for Felipe to be able to He's under a lot of pressure as well, so it's important that he can score points and he can demonstrate that he's a very good driver."
Todt said that he was quite happy with the respective strategies planned for the Ferrari drivers. "We knew that Michael could be in quite a good position at the start but we knew that it was a different strategy. On paper, two pit stops was quicker but then you can't predict the traffic."
Finally, Todt admitted that he felt Williams now made it five teams who were competitive. "There are four teams which are very strong, even five teams, because Williams has been very strong, was strong in Bahrain and was strong today. There was a problem with reliability but otherwise they were very competitive.
"I see five teams who are good competitors at the moment, and some others who may have good potential. We saw some teams who were not as good as they were in performance at this Grand Prix."
But Renault's winning performance was not a surprise. "There is no major reason why they should not be competitive. They were very good last year, so it's continuity; the same people."