Never were two cars, a minute ahead of the rest of the field, so closely watched as when Ferrari claimed their third one-two of the 2002 season at the Nurburgring on Sunday. After the controversy of the Austrian Grand Prix - when Ferrari reversed...
Never were two cars, a minute ahead of the rest of the field, so closely watched as when Ferrari claimed their third one-two of the 2002 season at the Nurburgring on Sunday. After the controversy of the Austrian Grand Prix - when Ferrari reversed the Rubens Barrichello, Michael Schumacher order on the last lap - everyone wondered if they would do the same again. But Ferrari's team principal, Jean Todt, said that this was a different Ferrari team tactic to that seen in Austria, due to different circumstances.
"Team tactics is part of Ferrari policy and the team tactic this time was to let Rubens win. In Austria it was the sixth race of the championship, we had a much lower advantage than the one we have now so now we can adopt a different strategy after nine races considering that Michael increased his advantage to 46 points in the Drivers' championship. Today's (European GP) result was important for Rubens' battle in the championship as well. The risk is not as big as it was in Austria. We feel that we can start to try to build a certain position for Rubens in the drivers championship as well."
Todt was asked if the fans' reaction following the Austrian race, or the FIA World Council hearing on Wednesday affected the team's decision at the Nurburgring. "We were not anticipating such a reaction in Austria because team tactics have always been in motor racing. It's up to others to be in front of us. We are not going to fight, you will not see Ferrari fighting against each other. We fight against ten teams, not against the Ferrari team," he confirmed.
"I think it's difficult for the others seeing Ferrari being so dominant at the moment and we aren't arrogant. If the others want to be in front of us, they need to work as hard as we have worked with Bridgestone to be in front of us. That's their problem. We are competing to be where the winner is the strong team, which we are at the moment. It's up to others to try and do the job to be in front of us."
Asked at what stage did he decide to freeze the positions, Todt explained that "We decided to fix the positions at the end of the second pit stop. That fact was decided if we had more than a minute's lead over third place. The drivers appreciate that there is a supreme interest which is the Scuderia Ferrari. The important thing is that no one ever works against the team's interest. We are particularly happy to see the current situation at Ferrari and one hopes that one could maintain this standard of performance for several seasons to come but it will be very difficult."
"It's obvious that we were very satisfied with Ferrari's performance," continued Todt, "But also since the start of the season, because apart from our three one-twos, it's our fifth win, so that shows the combined performance of the engine, chassis and Bridgestones which allow us to dominate this first part of the season."