Ferrari could not let the British GP go by without arranging for its English technical director to talk to the press, which is exactly what Ross Brawn did this afternoon. He was asked yet again about the unusual four stop strategy that brought ...
Ferrari could not let the British GP go by without arranging for its English technical director to talk to the press, which is exactly what Ross Brawn did this afternoon. He was asked yet again about the unusual four stop strategy that brought Michael victory in France last Sunday and explained that the strategy was designed to exploit the strong points of the Bridgestone tyres.
Ask for what was more important, the strategy or the driver, Brawn replied: "You need a good strategy and a good driver to implement it. We set the driver a target he must reach in terms of lap times and he has to meet it. If he can go even quicker it is a great help."
Asked about the effect of proposed changes to the technical regulations to slow the cars, Brawn felt they did not suit Ferrari. "As we have a very strong package, any change is not good for us," he said. "But we have to accept change because every year the cars get faster and the tracks stay the same."
"That is not to say the cars are dangerous now, but every year they progress so it is time to take a step back. The easiest element to change is aerodynamics, followed by the tyres and the engine. But the big step on the engine side will only occur in 2006 when we have a smaller capacity. I think we can improve the safety of the sport and improve the show at the same time."
Brawn went on to reveal that the current F2004 will not evolve much more over the course of this year. "We have already started work on next year's car," he declared. "Now our aim with the current car is to score enough points to win both championships and that requires reliability. So we are now concentrating our efforts on next year's car."
"Apart from a new aerodynamic package we hope to introduce at Hockenheim (the next race in Germany) and a special low downforce package necessary for Monza, evolution on the F2004 will mainly be restricted to work on tyres and engine. This means that the opposition could catch us up or even overtake us sometimes before the end of the season."
Ferrari Managing Director Jean Todt shed light on Brawn’s remarks about the fact that the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro team is already working on next year’s F1 car. "There comes a time when we have to start thinking about next year's car, especially when there are going to be a lot of changes for next year, in terms of the technical regulations, the aerodynamics, the tyres and the engines," began the Frenchman. "Time goes by very quickly, so we soon have to give priority to the new car."
It is clear that with the F2004 proving so competitive on all types of circuit, the team has been able to look ahead in a more concerted manner than if it was struggling in this year's title race. "We have reached a good level of performance with the F2004, but there are still some development programmes for specific circuits," specified Todt.
"However there comes a time, like we have done every year, where we have to look ahead. Of course, if we are still fighting for the title over the last two races then we would be in a situation where development would continue as we would have to find a tenth of a second per lap from somewhere as a tenth of a second can make a big difference. But it is true that in this year’s championship, without saying it is in the bag, far from it, in terms of competitiveness, we are in a position to make next year’s programme our priority."
So does that mean Todt feels the 2004 championships are already decided? "I am too prudent to talk about the championship being over at this moment when we have not yet won," he maintained. "All we can say at the moment is that we look like the favourites. There are still eight grands prix to go and so many things could happen."
"With that in mind, of course I prefer to be in our situation than that facing the other teams. We have had examples of championships that looked in the bag and they were not, so until it is mathematically won I will not consider it so. I’ve been in the business too long to think like that."