Byrne speaks to Autosport.com

Rory Byrne is the real unsung hero of Scuderia Ferrari - the chief designer who remains back at the team's base in Maranello, and does not attend the races and share in the glory. However, he did make a rare appearance at Imola, and was asked by team boss Jean Todt to join Michael Schumacher on the podium and accept Ferrari's winning constructor prize. Adam Cooper spoke to the South African

Byrne speaks to Autosport.com

Q: How did it feel up there on the podium with the champagne?

"It was my first time on the podium ever, and it was a fantastic experience, especially here at Imola. The crowd was fantastic. It was an experience I'll never forget."

Q: Three wins in three starts - how happy are you with that?

"We're reasonably satisfied, but we've still got a helluva lot to do."

Q: What are the strengths of the F1-2000?

"It's a logical progression of last year's car. We've worked very hard in all areas and made improvements in all areas, and it looks like we've made more improvements than the opposition has between this year and last year. But as you saw, they are very strong. The championship is between two drivers, and it's going to be really exciting, really tight."

Q: Is aerodynamic efficiency the key area you've improved?

"Everything is new. There are not many parts that are actually the same. There are detailed improvements all over the place. We've certainly improved the aerodynamics, but of course everyone else has as well. It just depends on who makes the most improvements. But I do think we've started the season much more competitively than we did last season."

Q: And Ross Brawn said last year that you need to win from the front rather than face another showdown - is it all going to plan?

"Yes, but there's a long way to go. There are 14 races left, and with one every two weeks it's going to be a tough old season."

Q: What do you think of the job Michael is doing in the cockpit?

"Just look at Imola. He did just what he had to do. It was Michael and the strategy that won us the race."

Q: Imola was the first race we've seen you at this year. Are you coming to any others?

"No. It's only because I'm 50kms away that I came to Imola. I've got too much work at base. I'm flat out on all sorts of programmes."

Q: So we haven't seen the best of this car yet?

"We'll be developing through the year, same as we always do. And the same as everyone else does, unfortunately!"

Q: Is qualifying the one thing you need to get right?

"Yes, but we're making progress."

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