Ferrari's team principal Jean Todt and sporting director Stefano Domenicali were at pains to point out that there was little that they could do after an e-mail message went astray prior to the Chinese Grand Prix, necessitating both Kimi Raikkonen...
Ferrari's team principal Jean Todt and sporting director Stefano Domenicali were at pains to point out that there was little that they could do after an e-mail message went astray prior to the Chinese Grand Prix, necessitating both Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa to make an early supplementary pit stop in Sunday's Japanese Grand Prix. The extra pit stop seriously comprised the team's chances, resulting in third (Kimi Raikkonen) and sixth (Felipe Massa) places.
The e-mail contained vital information asking all teams to use Bridgestone's extreme wet weather tyre, but Ferrari started both drivers on the normal wet weather tyre, and had to pit to change tyres.
"Of course, at the end of the race we went straightaway to see the stewards, just to understand what had happened," explained Domenicali. "They understood our point of view in the way that it's a message that has to come from the stewards and basically they were apologising for the fact that they used the usual system of e-mail for normal communication also for this matter.
"The use of e-mail between the teams and race control is normal for documents like information on the classification, on the event or something like that. But normally when there is some information that is very sensitive, related to the running - in this case, of the race - this information should be circulated as is written in sporting regulation article 15.1 with receipt that has to be acknowledged by the team."
Todt suggested that new procedures should be implemented in order to avoid a repetition and indeed, within a few hours, the FIA published a press release pointing out that in future both types of system would be used.
There was nothing further to be done, said Todt, no point in taking it any further. "It would not solve the problem. The race is over. We want to understand better what has happened, the way it has happened but I think to open up a new controversy would not be good for the sport."
Todt was also asked why the drivers had started on what appeared to be the less suitable tyre. "Before the start of the race, there was a very small drizzle which helped us to make the decision to take these tyres. Once the race started, then the rain got much more intense so definitely, if we would have the choice, knowing that rain would increase as it did, our choice would probably have been very different. But we made the choice before the start of the race, from what we saw. If we would have been informed that there was no choice of tyre, that everyone would start on the same tyre, then it would have been easier for us."
Asked if he was confident that he could still attack McLaren for the Drivers' championship after Lewis Hamilton's win in Fuji, Todt said "you know what happened to Alonso today could happen to Hamilton next week. I was told that the weather prediction is maybe rain so we know that so many things can happen, if you see today how many cars had incidents. I think we need to look at it race by race, lap by lap and then we will see." Referring to Raikkonen, he continued "there's definitely now only one driver in the team who can mathematically pretend to be drivers' champion."
Todt also commented on the rumoured chances of Fernando Alonso joining Ferrari. "Zero per cent, zero per cent, zero. We have two fantastic drivers, - Kimi, Felipe - we are very happy with them, and they are under contract. I will respect the contract for a guy cleaning the floor so you can imagine that I will respect a contract for a driver. If we have contracts we will respect them."
Todt also dismissed speculation about his own future and any announcement, following a recent interview with a journalist. "I said I could stay not all my life in Formula One, but why not the next five years? So I expressed why not the next five years but that does not mean I will stay five years. But I don't think somebody should expect me to announce, during a private interview, when I'm going to stop. I will stop when I feel I'm happy to stop, which is a fantastic privilege. There is no official decision about my future and when the proper time arrives, which can be sooner or later, then we will announce it."
Finally, he also talked about Ross Brawn's future again. "It was a question raised to him at the (McLaren spy inquiry) FIA hearing and the question was 'are you considering coming back into racing, and if yes, is it with Ferrari?' And the answer was 'yes' so it's a consideration, but again, only a consideration."