Ferrari principal Jean Todt can enjoy the pleasure of a fifth world title for the team, and sixth for Michael Schumacher, but 2003 was not an easy year for the Scuderia. While celebrations were in order after the Japanese Grand Prix, Todt said the...
Ferrari principal Jean Todt can enjoy the pleasure of a fifth world title for the team, and sixth for Michael Schumacher, but 2003 was not an easy year for the Scuderia. While celebrations were in order after the Japanese Grand Prix, Todt said the worry of not just the race but the whole season was a painful experience.
"Each year we try to achieve this and when you manage to achieve it, it's just like a dream come true. Let's say this season there was much more competition, it was much more difficult to achieve what we all achieved and we had to wait until the last race before it came."
"Now, even, if we haven't yet had the time to really enjoy it completely --because it's hard to believe, because we have been fighting so much for that -- it will take a few days before we do realise it, and all the team can definitely feel proud of the job that has been done."
It seems Michael Schumacher has already realised he's a six-time champion from the reports coming from the Suzuka paddock after the race. The German and brother Ralf allegedly let their hair down in fine style by trashing a hotel room in a drunken partying spree. But if you can't party when you're a record-breaking champion, when can you?
"I would say he's very focused, he has a passion for his job, he's very professional, he's always available," Todt said about Michael. "When he needs something, he's pushing, he wants to understand, he's curious. And on the other side, I think Ferrari has given him fantastic support, fantastic car, fantastic engine, fantastic package."
"You know it's clear that we haven't been successful all the year, because we won eight races out of 16 compared to 15 out of 17 last year. And Michael is a great guy, but he needs a great car, because a great guy without a great car will not do the job."
"So I think it's a fantastic combination: a few very good people all put together without any controversy ever, just looking or trying to do the job in the company. Each one has his own responsibility, each one is supported in his own responsibility and supporting his colleagues and I think that in the end it makes a difference."
"We are not spoiled. I think in our approach we are very humble. We respect the others a lot. We know that we make mistakes. We know our limits and I just feel that we keep our feet on the ground and we just try to do the job. We just spoke to Rory (Byrne, chief designer). He's working in the wind tunnel. We spoke with Paolo Martinelli (head of engine development). He was in the engine department, so you know I think we are all focused, simply because we love being at Ferrari."
"We love being together and probably one of the reasons why none of us want to go is because we feel that in a way we would be betraying part of the group and we feel that we are not yet ready for that. Ferrari is a great company, great team, probably more pressure, but more emotion and more reward to the effort that we make and that's the end of it."
For the last seven years the team at Ferrari has remained mostly the same and it's proved to be a team that's hard to beat. Todt recognizes the effort that everyone puts in: "And the last thing I would mention is probably unique, the thing we can be most proud of: a group which since 1997 has been the same, has achieved the manufacturers championship five times in a row, Michael, four times in a row drivers' championship with Ferrari, plus the two years before."
"He's the only driver to have six successes in the drivers championship, so definitely, even if I say that we don't realise it yet, I think in a few years we will be able to be proud about what we have achieved."