"Mathematically it's still possible but logically we know it will be very difficult," said Jean Todt of Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro's World Championship chances with one race to go. The Japanese Grand Prix hadn't been kind to the Scuderia.
"Mathematically it's still possible but logically we know it will be very difficult," said Jean Todt of Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro's World Championship chances with one race to go.
The Japanese Grand Prix hadn't been kind to the Scuderia. "Big disappointment," was Todt's summary. "Starting the race with Felipe Massa and Michael Schumacher on the first row, we were expecting a better result than the second position of Felipe.
"Two things that had a big influence on the final result was the breakage of Michael's engine, which was tough, on lap 36 when Michael was leading after the last pit stop."
Todt admitted that there had been no warning of the failure, just after Michael's second pit stop. "Sudden engine failure. We don't know the exact cause. I hope we can find it but I must say that the engine has been quite badly damaged, so it might be difficult to find the cause, but it's too early to know that."
When it was pointed out that somebody had calculated that it was Michael's first race engine failure since 2000, Todt smiled at the irony. "So it did not come at the right time!"
Massa had suffered a cut in a tyre, so he was brought in three laps early. "We had to stop him earlier than planned because he had a slow puncture on one of his tyres, so for safety reasons we had to stop him, and when he came out of the pit lane, he was behind a slower car which made him lose time".
"But that's racing," continued Todt. "We know that to win races, to win championships, we need performance, good tyres, good team, reliability, good drivers and today we did not have good reliability and we paid the highest price and it's our mistake and we have to accept it. The others did not make a mistake and they are in front, so there is logic."
Todt admitted that it wasn't easy to take such a result at this stage of the season but that one must accept both success and failure. "We are in this business for many years, so when you have success, you must be happy. When you don't, you must turn the page. And sometime you must remember the unbelievable period we have had: success, friendship, unique relationship. We are lucky people to be able to exercise our passion, knowing some more difficult things happen in the world, so we must give a weight to each single thing."
Todt agreed that it had been looking so good after qualifying, where the Ferraris set the two best times and shattered the lap record. "It was looking good but we knew that between one lap in qualifying - we didn't know the level of fuel of the others - there were a lot of parameters we didn't know but we knew we were going to probably be quicker in qualifying. Saying that, for the race we had a pace which was good enough to secure what we wanted, unless a problem occurred, which did occur."
To win either championship will be very difficult said Todt. "What is good is to be able to win championships when it's left up to us. Now it's not left up to us, it's left to the problems of others so there's a lot of parameters which will be out of our control, but saying that, we will go to the last race hopefully with the disappointment of today behind us and motivated to do the best result as possible and then we will see."