Ross Brawn Q&A

Not so long ago the thought of Mika Hakkinen finishing more than 30 seconds ahead of Michael Schumacher would have been the worst nightmare for Ross Brawn and the rest of the Ferrari team. However at Silverstone the Italian camp seemed unusually comfortable with a result that at first glance, looked pretty awful.

Ross Brawn Q&A

But championship considerations have taken over, and with Michael gaining a further six points on David Coulthard, and the gap in the constructors' battle not changing, it was not a bad outcome on a day when neither the car nor the strategy was quite right. Adam Cooper spoke to Ross about a day of mixed feelings.

"Yes. It's a bit of an excuse, but we don't test here very often, and we didn't have the confidence in the set-up of the car for the race. It was quick over one lap, but of course running with fuel and so on needs to be done to get the race set-up correct. And with the weather and one or two other things, we hadn't done that. It didn't work out as well in the race as we'd hoped, but I think if we have a bad day and score six, or rather 10, points in the championship it's not so bad."

"We do try our best! It was a little bit of a conservative strategy, which I think there's a question mark over. I think for that strategy to have worked, Michael would have had to keep Mika behind him at the beginning of the race, and that was too risky. Mika was very quick and there was no point in taking a risk in that situation, with David out of the race. So Michael quite sensibly let Mika through and then it was concentrate on coming home second."

"It is. One of the problems with Silverstone is that it has a very short testing day. You only get from 10am to 1pm, and 2pm to 5pm, so there are only six hours a day. And there are not that many tests. For us to travel over here and get what for us are effectively short days, has got to be held in balance with all the other circuits that we go to. We'll never test here as much as the British teams. And you need to test here in the right weather conditions and so on. As I say, it's a bit of an excuse, so I don't think it's the only reason."

"Well, everyone keeps saying when it's mathematically done. With David not scoring and Michael getting six points it's a great step forward, and one race less. There are six races to go and 60 points available, so all round it was a good result, with Mika winning instead of David. We'll never be comfortable until it's done."

"Because Michael was pole we thought he could make a decent start, but to make it work you had to hold your position. And there was no point in doing that, in case Michael tangled with Mika and lost the points. So Michael quite sensibly didn't put up much opposition. But I think it would have been an open race where those considerations weren't being made. It would have been interesting."

"He wasn't very comfortable with the car. We didn't quite get it on the button. It was good enough obviously to finish second, but it was better when the fuel load lightened. With a heavy fuel load it was a bit tricky."

"Well no, the car wasn't that desperate. We were looking behind at the people who were coming up, and we were fairly confident that we could beat them. Montoya was going much quicker than Ralf, and we had to assume that he was on a two and Ralf was on a one, which is how it worked out. So we were then just making sure that we kept second place. That evolved out OK, and Rubens did a very good job to finish third."

"They both did. It's obviously not Rubens' fault that he had a bad start, so we have to look into it, because the start was not acceptable. It's something we've got to do our best to sort out."

"I don't think so. Nobody had any great experience on these tyres, but they seemed quite good. Certainly, towards the end of the stints the drivers were able to push and put in some decent times, so I don't think there's a case for that. We just didn't quite put everything together, we didn't get everything in line, but having said that we scored 10 points."

"There was just no point in tangling with those guys. I spoke to Michael and said I'm sure he's on two stops, there's no point in risking anything, because there's no point in not scoring any points. We are in a little different situation in that respect. We've got to be careful not to be too conservative, but having said that six points in better than ending up in the gravel trap."

"I don't know. I don't see it that way..."

"I wouldn't call it relaxing!"

"It depends what it is. In some ways we are. From an aerodynamics point of view, which is not a reliability consideration, then there's still a lot of work being done. But in terms of a new engine spec, then perhaps we are going to do a bit more testing before we introduce it, because there's no need to take that risk. And the engine reliability has been fantastic. There are decisions to consider that are a little bit different to other circumstances. But we still want to win more races."

"They've been performing well for several races, it's just that they've not put the whole thing together. They've had little problems, problems on the grid, David exceeded the speed limit at the last race... You only need one little glitch, and your race is finished, so who knows?"

"It couldn't have been a better result for us. The poor guy's had such a terrible year. I'm sure they're in discussions with him as to what he's going to do in the future, and this will be a big boost to him to continue."

"We'll change that this year!"

"If Williams are strong again, looking at the championship it's not such a big deal. We've got a new aero package there, and I think we'll be competitive there. So I'm quite looking forward to it."

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