Ferrari team principal Jean Todt remains optimistic for the World Championship after Kimi Raikkonen finished a close second to series leader Lewis Hamilton in Sunday's Hungarian Grand Prix. "It's complicated," said Todt, "I'm always worried and...
Ferrari team principal Jean Todt remains optimistic for the World Championship after Kimi Raikkonen finished a close second to series leader Lewis Hamilton in Sunday's Hungarian Grand Prix.
"It's complicated," said Todt, "I'm always worried and of course, I would prefer to have both drivers 20 points ahead. Saying that, you know it makes a very intense and interesting challenge. If we are able to be on the podium with both drivers, both cars, for the six remaining Grands Prix of the season, which is possible, I still think that we have a chance to achieve what we want."
Raikkonen's second place and Felipe Massa's disappointing 13th was sealed in qualifying, said Todt. "In Q2 (the second part of qualifying), we at Ferrari are always on low fuel and during Felipe's attempt to qualify for Q3, he made a little mistake, understeering in the last sector and we realised that he would not be qualified for Q3. It's not something we have been much used to this year.
"So we changed his tyres and once the tyres were changed, we realised that no fuel had been put in the car so it was simply a mistake in the procedure. During the time it took to bring the car back to the garage, the tyres got cold, and probably pressure mounted on Felipe as well. It's easy to see now what we should have done: we should have put him on new tyres which would have been hot in the blankets, but we did not do the best job and we paid the cost of it.
"It was not good and I'm not happy about that but the same people have been winning a lot of races, a lot of championships and mistakes remain human, so that's it. We have to try to understand why we did not have a good procedure, to avoid that and hopefully make sure that it won't happen again.
"In the race it was very disappointing to see Felipe behind cars which again, I respect the cars, I respect the drivers but they are not in the same league at the moment and he could not pass them. Due to his starting position, we put the car full of fuel, having to guess, but it's never good in this business if you start to guess. It didn't work properly for him.
"For Kimi it was much better," continued Todt. "We had a competitive car but we did not do the best job for reasons we need to understand in qualifying and we paid the price. It's not pleasing but you have to accept it. I'm not very happy about the result today. You cannot always pretend that you're not happy if you don't win, even if what you always aim for is trying to win a race."
Even though there is no testing for several weeks, Todt explained that the team will still be hard at work. "It's the same for everybody," he said. "There is no testing for this August period. Still, we can work in the wind tunnel, we can work with the simulation facilities and as I said, each team is in the same condition."
Todt emphasised that there will be no preference regarding his two drivers, explaining how the situation was when Michael Schumacher was in the team. "With Michael it was always agreed that if his teammate was in a stronger position for the championship, then Michael would have accepted that and we would have put no more effort because it was the same effort but if we would have to do some specific choice for strategy or whatever, that would have been in favour of the teammate.
"At the moment, there's one point difference between the two drivers and I'm just happy that both are competitive, both are fitting very well in the team and there is no way we will make any kind of strategy with them at the moment."
Todt once again underlined the reason why he had asked the Italian federation to write to the FIA to re-examine the case involving Ferrari drawings found in the home of McLaren's chief designer. "We were not happy. If you are guilty, you must be penalised and the important thing is that our competitor was judged guilty and that's why the national automobile club of Italy asked the president of the FIA to reconsider, which the president accepted.
"We will have the opportunity of presenting the case, hopefully properly, clearly and it's up to the international court of appeal to make the decision and of course we will accept the decisions, but we feel that what happened was simply unacceptable so we don't accept it."