Michael Schumacher made his victory in the European Grand Prix look easy but Ferrari boss Jean Todt isn't taking the success of Schumacher and the team for granted. The win at the NÃ¼rburgring made it five out of six so far this season for ...
Michael Schumacher made his victory in the European Grand Prix look easy but Ferrari boss Jean Todt isn't taking the success of Schumacher and the team for granted. The win at the N?rburgring made it five out of six so far this season for Schumacher, and with Rubens Barrichello in second place Ferrari has now scored over 100 points already this season. The closest competitor in the constructors' standings is Renault, 45 points behind.
Schumacher was aided somewhat in Europe by Kimi Raikkonen's McLaren holding up the rest of the field, allowing Michael to build up a 16 second gap by the time he came in for his first pit stop. "It helped him," Todt conceded in regard to the McLaren assisting Schumacher. "But saying that, he (Michael) was really very quick and we were not expecting that he would be so far ahead after the first pit stop. He ended it just behind the group after having refuelled."
"But the car was good, the tyres were good, Michael was very good; he did a good start, so it was a good race. But we have to be very careful of using the word success, because it's very fragile. I would never allow myself to take that for granted, because it's never for granted."
Ferrari opted to put Schumacher on a three stop strategy at the N?rburgring and Barrichello on a two stopper. The strategy worked out when Barrichello rejoined the race in second position after his second stop. "We didn't know how the tyres were going to behave during the race," Todt explained. "So it was certainly an interesting choice to split the strategies."
Ferrari will test at Silverstone this week and, worryingly for the rest of the grid, Todt predicts more improvements to come on the car during the rest of the season. The Scuderia may be enjoying a comfortable cushion at the top of the standings but that does not mean it can take things easy.
"You never know what can happen," said Todt. "Eleven races is still a long way to go. Saying that, as I said before, I prefer to be in our position rather than in the others' position. We will have new specifications, hopefully new developments on the car, on the aero, tyre development, engine development, so we will have some improvements during the season."
Todt is perhaps right to be cautious. Ferrari certainly looks the strongest contender this season but things can go wrong all too easily. Schumacher leads the drivers' standings with 60 points from his six wins this year but second placed Barrichello is only 14 points behind, despite not having won a race. It shows how costly Michael not finishing in Monaco was.
Schumacher, who is back to work at Silverstone this week, isn't resting on his laurels. "The N?rburgring win was very important but, obviously, I doesn't mean that we should work any less harder," he commented. "It is not our style. We don't test as often as the other teams do at Silverstone, so these tests will be interesting. There is still a long way to go. The season has still not reached the midway point and you can never work too hard."