Ferrari team principal Jean Todt dismissed his team's distant third place in Sunday's Monaco Grand Prix as one-off. Felipe Massa was over a minute behind the winning McLaren Mercedes team, and Kimi Raikkonen salvaged eighth after a qualifying ...
Ferrari team principal Jean Todt dismissed his team's distant third place in Sunday's Monaco Grand Prix as one-off. Felipe Massa was over a minute behind the winning McLaren Mercedes team, and Kimi Raikkonen salvaged eighth after a qualifying accident. And Todt went on to suggest that a similar result was unlikely at the next round of the championship in Canada in two weeks time.
"We all know that Monte Carlo is a specific place," explained Todt. "Take last year's race and the one before and you will see that the 2006 Monte Carlo race was different to Canada, two weeks afterwards. I would say we have some history, some documentation about that."
Todt, however, went on to point out that it wasn't only McLaren who had challenged Ferrari over the last few years at Monaco, although the Fernando Alonso - Lewis Hamilton one-two on Sunday was McLaren's 12th win in the principality. "I'm not talking about one team. Last year it was not McLaren, it was Renault," he emphasised.
"We knew from the beginning that McLaren are very strong and here they were stronger, so it was no surprise to find that. Let's just say congratulations. We need to fight in the remaining races in the championship. Arriving here I must say that qualifying was very close for Felipe because he finished less than one tenth behind Hamilton, 65/100ths if I remember well, and Kimi had his qualifying problem and he could not go all the way through qualifying and ended up 16th. But saying that, McLaren were quickest and basically there's nothing else to say."
However, Todt went on to explain that there were other reasons for the minute plus margin between the McLarens and Massa's Ferrari. It had been suggested that Ferrari's longer wheelbase was the reason for their lack of pace in the tight, winding streets of the Principality.
"You know, you talk about pace. If you take it up to the first pit stop, Felipe was right behind Hamilton. Then we decided to put on softer tyres, the others stayed on the harder tyres. Then Felipe took over five laps, I don't know exactly how many, to pass one car and in those five laps he lost 15 seconds. We knew the best he could do was third unless the others in front had a problem. So he stayed in third position."
Todt also emphasised that Kimi Raikkonen was still very much a championship contender, even though he has a 15 point deficit to the World Championship leaders after five rounds. "It's still very open, very open. If there were two races to go, then a 15 point deficit would be impossible. But 15 points with 12 races to go, which is an average of 1.25 points per race, is not so much."
Todt explained that in spite of there being no testing between Monaco and Montreal, the team would still be pushing hard. "We have a few modifications which we will have for the next race. You must always push harder. We respect our competitors very much. They are very good, they are very strong. They have been more reliable than us at the beginning of the season. Some others are fighting hard behind us, so we have to push.
"Since the beginning of the season, two teams have been ahead of the others, and I think it will be like that for a while, but as I said before, some others behind are working hard and I'm sure we can progress. We need to progress more than the others."
Once again, Michael Schumacher was overseeing Ferrari's operation at Monaco and Todt explained his involvement. "He has been observing and if he feels he has something to say he will speak with the engineers." But he wouldn't go so far as to say that Schumacher had a major influence in the team's decisions. "You know the team is quite well organised. We rely on the people who spend all the time in (Ferrari's base at) Maranello or at the track to improve the car and the development of the car, but Michael's input is always very interesting and makes everybody happy."