Todt talks tyres

Jean Todt displayed new confidence after Michael Schumacher secured Ferrari's second successive Grand Prix win at Magny-Cours in France on Sunday. Asked whether he felt they could carry over the form to the upcoming German Grand Prix at...

Jean Todt displayed new confidence after Michael Schumacher secured Ferrari's second successive Grand Prix win at Magny-Cours in France on Sunday. Asked whether he felt they could carry over the form to the upcoming German Grand Prix at Hockenheim, Todt said "I think we will not only be quick in Hockenheim, I think we will be quick everywhere. And then maybe someone we will make a completely wrong choice of tyres at one race...Otherwise we will be strong, our competitors will be strong so it will always be little different."

Some observers - even some at Ferrari - viewed the team's previous Grand Prix win at Indianapolis in the USA as a one-off success in terms of a level of dominance. Did Todt see success at Magny-Cours, just down the road from rival tyre supplier Michelin's home circuit as being more significant?

"No," replied the Ferrari team principal. "We knew that there was no reason why we should not be competitive here. It's the home country of the leader in the Manufacturers' championship, of their tyre supplier but I would say it's my home country too.

"We had very good tyres available - not only for Ferrari. You could see that Toyota was very strong with Bridgestone over the whole weekend. Unfortunately for them and for us, they had some reliability problems and they could not score as many points as we wished they would have scored, because as you can imagine, it's very crucial for us in the championship if we are ahead, that some cars are in between us and our rivals. Our competitors are very strong as well, they do a good job. It's up to us. If we want to win the championship we have to deserve it and to do the best job we can."

But Todt rejected suggestions that their soft tyre choice had been chancy. "It was no gamble. We know very well that the evolution of the track always gives some advantage and takes away the graining which is the weakest point when you have soft tyres. Bridgestone made available to the teams different types of tyres which were very good. Our tyres were very good, Toyota's tyres were very good, even if they were different so it was no gamble."

However, Todt did admit that problems for both cars during the third practice session on Saturday morning had cut short their preparations. "We were worried because there was always a question mark as we didn't do so many laps in proper race conditions. Consequently, we might have ended up with degradation of a tyre which is different to what we were expecting. Let's say that here it went the way we could expect."

Michael Schumacher had paid tribute to the team's rapid reaction to those problems; how close had it been for the team? "Michael is a great team player," said Todt, "so quite rightly he never wants to take all the credit for success. He likes the team, he likes to encourage the team, he likes to reward the team and that's why the team loves him so much.

"We had a problem yesterday during the free practice three, and it was tight to put the car back into the best situation and we knew that we just had time to do it but we had to do it and the guys did a fantastic job. It was tight, but it was even tighter for Felipe. Felipe's car was finished after Michael's car was finished."

Todt again praised Massa's performance, and explained how he had been delayed which allowed championship leader Fernando Alonso to finish second. "Felipe is doing a great job. He just had a different strategy. He was less than a tenth behind Michael on the starting grid and we had a different strategy. We were on three pit stops, our main opposition was on two and Felipe had traffic and our strategy for him was not the best."

Finally, with regard to the lack of a unanimous decision for agreement on future engine rules, Todt admitted that he would agree to extend the deadline which passed during the Grand Prix by 24 hours, but no more. "Normally if you make a deal you have to respect it, which sometimes seems a bit strange in Formula One, but let's say I still try to focus on that," concluded Todt.

-ferrari-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Michael Schumacher , Fernando Alonso , Jean Todt
Teams Ferrari