Ferrari's sporting director, Jean Todt, was understandably delighted to have completed the team's Championship season with victory in the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka. "Obviously it's been a great season. Ferrari has achieved...
Ferrari's sporting director, Jean Todt, was understandably delighted to have completed the team's Championship season with victory in the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka. "Obviously it's been a great season. Ferrari has achieved a new record, 179 points in the World Championships, nine wins, World Champions after 13 Grands Prix, not withstanding very tough competition, so we are just delighted about that and of course it's fantastic to finish the season with a win."
However, he wouldn't say it was the best season ever. "I don't like superlatives but last year was great and this year has been great. It's one of the great seasons we have been achieving. We will try our best next year as well."
He was equally reticent about his own satisfaction from this season, and how he could appreciate it. "You know you don't have so much time to appreciate it. Maybe I will have time in a few years, when I'm not in this business any more, to think how amazing it was. You know you are focused day by day and you just look in front and not so much behind."
An obvious asset in the Ferrari team has been Michael Schumacher. Asked about his talent and performance, Jean Todt swiftly summed it up. "I think you just have to look at his results: the points he's scored, nine wins, five second positions, he's retired twice so I think you have to see the results to understand what kind of season he has had."
Todt had many other reasons to be happy, even though Rubens Barrichello failed to make it a Ferrari one-two in the Drivers' World Championship. "I wish to thank Rubens for the great contribution he has made," said Todt. "He finished third in the Drivers' championship at the end of a faultless year."
"And I would also like to say a special thank you to (test driver) Luca Badoer, who has played such an important role this year. I am also happy with Sauber's result, finishing fourth, powered by Ferrari."
If there was one worrying race this year, it was the Italian Grand Prix, days after the American tragedies, but Todt was swift to appreciate his team's understanding of that race. "Monza was a difficult situation for everybody, for Michael as well, but it's natural. I would have been disappointed if everybody, at least in our team, had accepted that it was a normal situation."
As ever, the team showed its unique character at the final race, as they all wore double-peaked baseball caps on the grid. "To celebrate winning both titles this year," said Todt, "we came up with rather a special cap, with two peaks, to thank our drivers for the exceptional work they have done this year. The idea was to give them equal billing."
But the team's efforts are not over yet. "Now we head to Monza to meet our fans next weekend, where we will be able to celebrate with them and Ferrari owners. It will be great to share their delight with these successes." Some 50,000 fans are expected - a great way to end the season.