"It's a great first; we're very happy, very proud to have been able to participate in the inauguration of this track," said Ferrari team principal Jean Todt after Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello scored their second one-two of the year at...
"It's a great first; we're very happy, very proud to have been able to participate in the inauguration of this track," said Ferrari team principal Jean Todt after Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello scored their second one-two of the year at the ultra-modern new Sakhir circuit in Bahrain on Sunday. "Today we saw a great race for Ferrari, for Michael, for Rubens, for Bridgestone and for all the people who have helped attain the standards we have achieved with the F2004."
But Todt was aware that it was a win achieved in difficult conditions, with much cooler temperatures on raceday than during practice and qualifying." It was probably achieved in the most difficult conditions for us," he continued. "We remember Grands Prix that were very difficult last year when the weather conditions were often very tricky and we didn't necessarily have all the elements required for us to win races. But with Bridgestone, we've done an enormous amount of work and today we're capable of winning those sort of races."
Todt admitted that earlier in the weekend the team had been "very cautious, because we knew that we had very strong opposition, but we still had the advantage of being in first and second position in qualifying. We felt we had a good package, good Bridgestone tyres, good strategy, but still, until the race it's not over, so many things can happen."
The turnaround between Saturday morning and afternoon was "linked to the set-up of the car, to the level of fuel in the cars," said Todt. "You have many ingredients and you have the final answer after the race because you never know how much fuel others have during qualifying. You only know the level of performance once the race is over."
And, as ever, Todt was eager not to become big-headed about the team's third win in succession, particularly when seeing the performance of some of his rivals, who suffered mechanical problems. "Their performance inspires modesty in us because we know that that could happen to us tomorrow, things could turn around quickly. We are also aware that a few minutes before the end of the Grand Prix one of the teams capable of scoring a good result had a problem, and that could happen to us tomorrow. It would mean losing important points in the championship."
Michael Schumacher had underlined that point after the race, but Todt was asked if the threat comes from the rival teams or the rival tyre company? "It comes from us," Todt emphasised. "We cannot give up because we know that if, for any kind of reason, we slowed down our input we would start to fail, so we have to keep focused, to be concentrated and to be humble and to work."
Todt certainly showed humiliation in the face of the stewards, who, after the race, fined Ferrari $10,000 for a pit lane incident when Barrichello came out of the pits at the same time as Jarno Trulli was passing. The team principal admitted "the team definitely made a mistake and we paid for the mistake."
And Todt paid tribute to the new Bahrain circuit, although he said that there were even better things to come. "It's obvious that the Bahrain circuit is superb and the circuit is probably the most modern in the world - but only until September when we go to China. I think the Chinese have done an amazing job, astonishing but for today the Bahrain circuit is the most modern at the moment, the most sophisticated with the best facilities."