Ferrari team principal Jean Todt left the French Grand Prix, his personal home race at Magny Cours, with a particular glow of satisfaction after coming up with what he called a daring strategy to seal a ninth victory this year for Michael ...
Ferrari team principal Jean Todt left the French Grand Prix, his personal home race at Magny Cours, with a particular glow of satisfaction after coming up with what he called a daring strategy to seal a ninth victory this year for Michael Schumacher. A phenomenal finishing record, several teams pushing Ferrari and their four stop strategy all contributed to Todt's satisfaction.
"A lot of teams pushed us hard to make the extra effort (on Sunday), even the tyre companies, so it was a difficult race, very difficult, with ten drivers on the same lap at the end," said Todt. "I think it's been a while since we saw a race like that. We had to come up with quite a daring strategy. Rubens also took a risk overtaking and that brought us an extraordinary win: the ninth win for Ferrari and Michael in ten Grands Prix, so it was something quite unique. Rubens has scored points in ten Grands Prix since the start of the season, so it was pretty satisfying."
"It's a magnificent victory like many other wins which we had the privilege to have won in the past few years. So it was won in conditions that were very tight and difficult but it isn't a win that is greater than any others."
Todt explained that the four stop strategy had been part of the team's tactics when they arrived in France. "We knew since Friday that because of the situation it was a possibility. Because of the way the race turned out, we knew that we had that option among others. It was the engineers who came up with it, with the facts available to them. So it was a decision that came from those people on the pit wall and who used the information that we had worked out several days ago."
But Todt said that the risk was calculated. "There was the risk of finishing second so finally we directed our intentions in this direction, hoping that it would work, but it wasn't obvious that it would work."
But as usual, Todt paid tribute to his team, although he denied that this win was much different to others. "Frankly today doesn't make my pride any bigger than it was two weeks ago. I'm very proud to be the patron of Ferrari, the leader of the team and I love the men who work in this team and our partners who help us."
He said Michael was the tip of a tall iceberg."There are the mechanics who put the engines together, who build the cars, so Michael isn't at the end of the chain, he's simply the tip of the iceberg but it's a very high peak. But you need a lot of people, hundreds of people behind him who earn the success for Michael, the success of Ferrari, the success of Barrichello."
But he admitted that he thought other teams would move closer in the second half of the season. "We knew that the second part of the season would probably be closer and it was a very tight race. Saying that, all the package has been outstanding."
One of Todt's worries is that Bridgestone's rival might produce a faster tyre. "If Michelin would produce a tyre which is more consistent and quicker, it is easy to see how many cars would be in front of us. At least we need to be equal. We know at the moment that on one lap, they are maybe performing a bit better but then, on durability and consistency, Bridgestone is better. We had high temperatures here; if you look at what happened last year, it's amazing how much Bridgestone has been working with Ferrari to improve the situation."
Asked about Max Mosley's imminent retirement as president of the FIA, Todt replied firstly that he didn't consider himself for the job. "I am the managing director of Ferrari, I am the team principal of the Formula One team, I have a contract until the end of 2006, and I'm well paid to do it, and I do it with people I love. Honestly, tell me what would be the advantage for me?
"But I think it's a big loss for the FIA because, whether you like his (Max Mosley's) way of working, or dislike it, his commitment is hard to find. To get somebody spending 12 hours every day free of charge in his office trying to be on top of all the problems is quite unique.
"When you see everything he's been doing on safety -- but not alone, together with the teams -- it's fantastic, fantastic and to find somebody knowing the sport, the rules, the interpretation of the rules. It was the combination of being a lawyer and being a sportsman, and this combination is unique and very difficult to find."
"You know very well that to have the teams agreeing something is almost impossible, so sometimes you have to be unpopular and to decide for them but honestly, I don't see which decisions we could really blame on him. Sometimes he's a bit provocative, but in our world you have to be provocative. So you have to be very strong and then you get something."