Q & A with Jean Todt
|By Jonathan Noble||Sunday, July 16th 2006, 19:02 GMT|
Q. Question about Massa helping Michael, not very well put....
Jean Todt: Always strong. You know, if we have two cars, we need to make points with both cars.
Q. It will be necessary….
JT: To have two cars, yes.
Q. It will be necessary to help Michael?
JT: You know, for us, what is important is to have as many cars as possible in front of the one who is leading the championship if Michael is ahead.
Q. Today, it was a fairly dominant race from you, but still, Felipe didn't get in front of Alonso. Do you think he could have been better today?
JT: I think your question could be better, that's for sure, but Felipe is doing a great job. We just had a different strategy. He was less than a tenth on the starting grid with Michael and we had a different strategy. We were on three pits. Our main opposition got on two and Felipe had traffic and our strategy for him was not the best.
Q. Michael paid tribute to the team for their performance yesterday afternoon getting the cars out onto the circuit after the problems in the morning. How close was that?
JT: You know, Michael is a great team player, so he never wants to get all the credit, rightly, about success and 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.
Q. Many people, including some at Ferrari, viewed Indianapolis as a one-off in terms of a level of dominance. But the fact that you've come to Magny Cours which many people view as Michelin's home track and would be Michelin domination… is it significant that you've turned….
JT: No. We knew that there was no reason why we should not be competitive here. It's the home country from the leader in the Manufacturers' championship, of their tyre supplier but I would say it's my home country too, so we don't do any private testing in Magny Cours and 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.
Our competitors are very strong as well, they do a good job. There's nothing to say. 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.
Q. With the summer testing ban coming up, will the next few races play an important part. If you're quick in Hockenheim, can you carry that momentum forwards, do you believe?
JT: 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, because you know you can bring two choices of tyres so that means you don't have the right tyres for the race.
It may mean you didn't take the right… or chose the right tyres so it may happen and so you just to do the best job as possible with the tyre company, otherwise we will be strong, they will be strong so it will always be little difference.
Q. Michael and Felipe said today there were some worries about the consistency of the tyres. How big a gamble was it today, and even with the soft compound whereas the other Bridgestone teams chose the hard one. How big a gamble was it?
JT: 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.
Q. But what were the worries then? Was it just that you didn't have enough laps in practice?
JT: We were worried because it's always a question mark because as we don't do so many laps in the proper race conditions, you may end up with degradation of a tyre which is different to what you were expecting. Let's say that here it went the way we could expect.
Q. Michael also said that Indianapolis was not a reference, but this race was a reference, that shows that you have taken up some ground. Maybe you can explain a little bit more; what does this reference say to you about your own performance?
JT: We did a good performance. At Silverstone, maybe the gap was not representative of the real situation with our competitors because we were really dominating the competition a lot. Here, it was much closer.
Q. Jean, Ferrari has a two year deal with Red Bull. Would you accept an idea from them for those Ferrari engines to go to the Toro Rosso car? Is that acceptable in Ferrari's terms?
JT: No I mean, you know. If we have a contract we normally we try to respect our contracts, so we intend everybody to have the same attitude. Unless clear evidence, which would really put us in a position to change something which honestly I don't see now, we are intending to fulfil our contract and to supply them the engine for next year, unless they don't want the engine, but it's not something we are aware of at the moment.
Q. Have they spoken to you about moving the deal?
JT: I mean it's something… I've heard about it.
Q. Have they spoken to you7?
Q. Have they requested a change of circumstances?
JT: Did they speak to me about that? It's something we have discussed and it's something at the moment we are not going to fulfil their wish, if there is this wish confirmed, but…. Red Bull is a very big company with a lot of people involved so let's say the people with whom I dealt for the contract seemed to be very happy with the agreement we ????
Q. You seem to be very happy with Felipe's job. Is he going to secure a contract for next season?
JT: Are going to announce… maybe you did not get the Ferrari information but we are going to announce our drivers in Monza at the Italian Grand Prix.
Q. The 4pm deadline to reach an agreement on engines passed without agreement being reached. Do you now believe we have a full engine freeze in 2008?
JT: The only comment I can make: first of all, we have not been involved with any kind of statement about the engines over the weekend. We said, and I mentioned that to you at Indianapolis that an unanimous agreement was taken which we felt was going in the proper direction to make everybody together will sign. I signed a document, on behalf of Ferrari.
I think I was the first to sign, what I would call a post-Indy document clarified which was discussed over the meeting at Indianapolis but then which was not written on their agreement, so we made a kind of clarification and I signed and I never heard about the paper any more. I know that there were some meetings, I felt that there was no need for me to attend the meetings because I signed the paper.
I was not involved, Ferrari was not involved in the GPMA discussions to support commercially the private teams. I understand that an agreement has not been achieved. If we have to postpone the final decision by 24 hours I would be prepared to accept that. That's where we are.
Q. You obviously need to decide on your engine development plans for next season, would you be willing….
JT: That's why I said 24 hours would not change. Over that, for me, that would be the frozen engines from '08 on, with some possibilities earlier, depending on the issues with the Technical Working Group and the FIA.
Q. You wouldn't consider longer than 24 hours?
JT: As I said, 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.
Q. There was some talk earlier in the season about Ferrari running a seemless shift gearbox this season. Is that still on course?
JT: We try to find lap time as much as we can but I'm not going to get into the detail of what we do.
Q. So that's no….
JT: If I was not clear, maybe Luca can be more clear after.
Q. You have said several times that every race is different from a tyre point of view. Turkey was almost a nightmare for Ferrari last year. Do you think that from data you have from the tyres side this year you will be competitive even at this kind of track?
JT: Let's wait until we go to Turkey first, number one and number two, maybe you were not aware that the tyres rule changed this year. OK. We will see. We will see.