Maranello, 25th June - Ferrari's sporting director Jean Todt says that Ferrari may be leading both championships, but "we must continue to concentrate and keep our feet on the ground." As the eighth anniversary of his appointment to Ferrari ...
Maranello, 25th June - Ferrari's sporting director Jean Todt says that Ferrari may be leading both championships, but "we must continue to concentrate and keep our feet on the ground." As the eighth anniversary of his appointment to Ferrari approaches, Todt reflected on Ferrari's fifth win of the season, and the team's 140th Grand Prix win. "It was a very difficult race, with a battle right from the start. It's true that when Ralf Schumacher had his penalty then life became a little easier and from then on we could begin to hope that Michael could win," said Todt.
He defended his driver's tactics start the start, when Michael Schumacher almost forced his brother into the wall, while keeping within the regulations. "Starts are the most crucial part of the race, so it's never easy," explained Todt. "But they are two racing drivers, they race for different teams, so it's normal that they should fight."
He went on to praise Schumacher, for whom this was a 49th victory. "He did a perfect race from beginning to end with the right pit strategy, given his position at the start, which was his seventh pole position of the year. He made a good start, and although he had us worried, it was a good enough start to hold first place at the first corner."
Once again, Todt defended McLaren's reputation, saying that they should stil not be under-estimated. "What amazes me in Formula One sometimes is just how easy it is for people jump to conclusions. McLaren-Mercedes are very strong competitors, and now there is a third team in Formula One this year with Williams, BMW and Michelin, so it's a fraught three-way battle and there are just a few tenths, sometimes just hundredths between the cars. The gaps in qualifying translate into the gaps which develop into bigger gaps in the race but they are very strong.
"But I remember last year, when the Ferrari team was going through a difficult period, and this is something that can happen to anyone. The advantage that we have today is relatively important given the first half of the season, but not necessarily big enough that we can not maintain concentration."
Former World Champion Alain Prost has been quoted as saying that he doesn't see how anyone can worry Schumacher this year. Todt's reply to that was "I hope that Alain is right, but I'm not ready to share his view because 24 points is only two and a half races, two and a half wins, and lots of things can still happen."
The addition of Williams as a third force has its advantages and disadvantages, says Todt. "It's good for Ferrari if Williams are ahead of McLaren, but it's not good for Ferrari if McLaren are ahead and Williams are between us. It depends on the position of Ferrari and the position of McLaren."