Montreal, 13th June - Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro’s Jean Todt described second and third in Sunday’s Canadian Grand Prix as “I must say it’s quite a pleasing result, it’s encouraging, it’s good for the team but our aim is to be first and second, so that’s what we’re working for. It’s encouraging, even if we’ve finished second already this season, and we’ve finished third this season but unfortunately we still haven’t tasted victory. So we are still seeking wins.”
But in no way was this a turning point, said Todt. “No, why? It’s a new stage, each Grand Prix is a new stage, and at each Grand Prix we have a start, but in no way is the Canadian Grand Prix a turning point. If you want me to sum it up, a turning point will be the day when we are able to win each Grand Prix which has been the case in the past, and which has ceased to be the case since the beginning of the year.”
But there were improvements that had been confirmed during Sunday’s race. “We have a certain number of improvements,” said Todt. “We were very satisfied with our tyres during the race, perhaps a slightly lack of grip from the package during qualifying even if Michael succeeded in getting onto the front row in second place, but we were obliged to make a certain compromise with our fuel load in order to achieve that, because it’s well known that when you find yourself in the middle of the pack, it makes races much more difficult and more unpredictable.”
The Canadian Grand Prix, however, highlighted Ferrari’s current dilemma which has to be tackled by strategy, and one that worked for them in Montreal. “If the car is a second or half a second quicker than the others we will put more fuel in it. If the car is less competitive we may decide to put less fuel in it. We know that we lack grip on the first lap but it’s nothing new, even if it was a bit better here. So it was something we did here, but maybe we will have good grip for the next race on the first lap.”
Todt did admit that the gearbox is the weakness of the current Ferrari but it is not a problem in itself in that the car has not only to be reliable, but competitive as well. “It’s the weakness, yes, but it’s a weakness in reliability and of course we need to be reliable to finish races. We need to do the utmost to be reliable and to be competitive, but even if we had a 100 percent with the gearbox, that will not make the car quicker so we must, in parallel, work on improving performance of the whole package.”
He explained that the gearbox problem was a problem that had first been experienced in Montreal, firstly with Michael at the end of free practice, and then with Barrichello in qualifying. Could Todt be confident that it won’t happen again? “Well, we are analysing. Confident? I am confident that we will do the most we can but until I’m completely sure that the solution to solve the problem is homologated there is always a doubt. Today I had the doubt that it could happen again and so thanks to the experience our engineers have to analyse the situation and find some proper solutions.”
Todt refused to answer speculation that Ferrari had been talking to Kimi Raikkonen’s management but suggested that he was happy for the winning Finn. “I’m not going to comment about that. We have our drivers, we are very happy with our drivers, they are contracted until ’05, ’06 and that is not the priority today.
“The priority today is to try and win the next race and the one after, and to have a competitive car for next year. Saying that, Kimi was unlucky at the last race at the Nurburgring. He did a very good race although of course, I would prefer to have had Michael winning the race today, but I was happy for Kimi. He’s a good guy.”