With the confirmation of Rubens Barrichello as race driver for a further two seasons, Ferrari's championship winning team of recent years is set to continue at least until 2006. Some might be content with five consecutive constructors'...
With the confirmation of Rubens Barrichello as race driver for a further two seasons, Ferrari's championship winning team of recent years is set to continue at least until 2006. Some might be content with five consecutive constructors' championships but team principal Jean Todt is not tired of his team's continuing success.Ferrari's annual ski event recently. "The Ferrari management have decided to go on because we get on well together. There is no risk of burning out. That day will come, but it hasn't yet."
"Though this makes life more difficult, I never reflect on the great times we have had but think about those that are to come. Anyway, nobody can say now that Ferrari has not won anything for 21 years. When I arrived at Maranello, my aim was to stay until 1995; I thought that would be difficult enough. After eleven years, I am still here. Ferrari has made progress at all levels because we have a unique group of people."
"At Ferrari we live as if we haven't won for ages. We aren't extraordinary. The most sophisticated boat goes nowhere if there is even a breath of opposing wind; a normal boat can win if everybody blows in the same direction. The added value is the team."
It was thought Ferrari was perhaps casting around for a younger driver in preparation for the future but Todt believes Barrichello is the best man to partner six-time champion Michael Schumacher. However, he did not rule out something unexpected happening and will deal with that if it should arise.
"We are very happy with Rubens," he stated. "Though this doesn't mean that we are not keeping an eye out for younger F1 drivers, and those in other categories. Barrichello now has a much stronger character, he concentrates more on problems and copes well with the pressure of the world's best driver and this is a great compliment. No-one has dealt with it quite as long. Michael has confirmed that he wants to go on; he loves F1 and Ferrari and he loves to drive. Maybe there will be some unforeseen events; if there are, we will deal with them."
Sauber, to whom Ferrari supplies engine and gearbox, has Giancarlo Fisichella and Felipe Massa on board for 2004; both drivers who have been linked with a future move to the Scuderia. Fisichella has made no secret of his desire to race for Ferrari, while Massa spent 2003 as test driver for the team. Todt was not willing to speculate on any involvement with either driver save for testing duties.
"My job is not to think about Massa and Fisichella's future," he said. "It is obvious that we have close links with Sauber, who use our engines. We have a technical collaboration and this allows us to use the two drivers in testing. It is down to them and to Peter Sauber, though, to think about their immediate future."
Ferrari will launch its 2004 contender on January 26th at the team headquarters in Maranello. Not much has been revealed in the way of details about the new car but Todt hinted that the front wing 'could surprise everyone'. The newly launched Williams FW26 features a retracted nose and extended twin-keel wing mount that the other teams are likely to be studying closely.