Todt and Brawn Reflect on Ferrari's Success

Ferrari partied late into the night after clinching the Constructors' title in the Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang on Sunday, after waiting 21 years to win the Drivers' title, accomplishing the goal of the double.

Todt and Brawn Reflect on Ferrari's Success

Ferrari partied late into the night after clinching the Constructors' title in the Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang on Sunday, after waiting 21 years to win the Drivers' title, accomplishing the goal of the double.

It was the culmination of seven years of hard work by team principal Jean Todt, who was given the brief to rebuild the Ferrari team and take it back to the top of Formula One when he joined the team in mid-1993.

"I came here to get the job done," said the 54-year old Frenchman after Michael Schumacher clinched victory on Sunday, "and now I feel a glow of satisfaction that I have done it. The whole team deserved this success. I don't like to talk in superlatives, but it is one of the most satisfying moments of my life. This is proof that hard work pays off. You have to persevere, you have to battle."

Todt has steadily built up the team which reaped the greatest success that can be achieved in motor sport. He first recruited Michael Schumacher in 1996, with technical director Ross Brawn and chief designer Rory Byrne joining a year later.

It is those people and that structure which Brawn believes are imperative to success. "The key thing is that there are such great people at Ferrari," Brawn said. "Jean, Michael, Rory had agreed to join before I joined Ferrari. There were such people going there that I knew there was always a chance.

"We had the maximum support from our president (Luca di Montezemolo). He has always supported the team," he added. "There have been times when people were saying 'change this' or 'change that' but we didn't. There was no point because consistency is the most powerful thing a team can have. We have had that with the same group of people, and with that group of people, I knew there was always a chance."

Brawn, whose race tactics are considered a key factor for Ferrari's success, also admitted that there were times this season when he thought the title was slipping again once more.

"There were times during the year when I felt that we weren't going to be able to do it. I thought it was going to get away from us again. We had such a great start but it was clear that McLaren were going to be very tough. Then we had that difficult time in the middle of the season, and then we came back again."

Schumacher, who won the first three races of the year, had a 22-point lead early in the season, but a series of incidents during the middle part, ended up with his rival Mika Hakkinen in the lead of the championship with five races to go.

"There were some races where we got a bit ragged for all sorts of reasons and we just sat down and thought about it and realised that we weren't doing a good enough job. The car didn't change. We changed our approach a little bit and it seemed to come together again. We went for a simple approach, a less complex approach. Perhaps we were trying too hard, things were getting a bit confusing, so we took a step back and kept it all nice and simple."

Brawn went on to say that it was the intense rivalry with McLaren that drove Ferrari on and demanded such a hectic pace of development.

"Some of the development is obvious, some of it not so obvious. I would think the car is a second quicker than it was at the start of the season. A lot has come from the car. I think we've made five different front wings this year. Ferrari has tremendous capacity. If it's used properly, it's a very powerful team.

"Having said that, we've finished the last race fighting head to head with McLaren, so they've done a great job as well. I think the development of the two teams is just incredible, which is why they are so far ahead of the rest of the field. I'm a little surprised. We are driving each other on, that's what it is."

While Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo preferred to remain in his hotel room than watch the Grand Prix from the pit wall, test driver Luca Badoer was on hand to watch the team win, and enjoy the celebrations.

"The drivers title was very emotional but this one is more for the team and I'm really very happy, said the Italian driver. "I get a lot of satisfaction from this win as everybody in the team does. Ferrari is more than 500 people but it is really a big family. I enjoy being part of it."

The whole team will be celebrating at their Mugello test track next weekend for the finale of the Ferrari Challenge. There will be one absentee, however.

"I'm going fishing next week in the Seychelles," said Brawn. "I'm disappearing. I figured I would do that whether we won or not, for different reasons. While I'm out there, I will be thinking about these successes."

"We've got a lot of work to do for next season. We can't be complacent but it's great to come from where we have. There's a monkey off our back now. But I'm sure the expectations are going to be just as high as are the ambitions and objectives. It won't be any less difficult for having done it this year," Ross concluded.

shares
comments
David Coulthard Q&A

Previous article

David Coulthard Q&A

Next article

Ferrari principal Todt fuels retirement speculation

Ferrari principal Todt fuels retirement speculation
Load comments
How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum Plus

How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum

With two sprint races under its belt, Formula 1 must now consider its options for them going forward. While they've helped deliver exciting racing on Sundays, the sprints themselves have been somewhat lacking - creating yet another conundrum for F1 to solve...

Formula 1
Sep 16, 2021
Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season? Plus

Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season?

OPINION: With Valtteri Bottas already signed up for 2022, all eyes are on the race for the second seat at Alfa Romeo next year. Antonio Giovinazzi is the current incumbent, but faces a tough competition from appealing short and long-term prospects

Formula 1
Sep 15, 2021
The "forced break" that was key to Ricciardo's Monza excellence Plus

The "forced break" that was key to Ricciardo's Monza excellence

OPINION: Daniel Ricciardo has long been considered one of Formula 1’s elite drivers. But his struggles at McLaren since switching from Renault for 2021 have been painful to watch at times. Yet he’s recovered to banish those memories with a famous Monza win – built on a critically important foundation

Formula 1
Sep 14, 2021
How Verstappen is ruining his F1 title battle with Hamilton Plus

How Verstappen is ruining his F1 title battle with Hamilton

OPINION: The Italian GP clash between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen followed a running theme in the 2021 Formula 1 title fight. Their close-quarters battles have often resulted in contact - and although Hamilton has shown a willingness to back off, Verstappen must learn to temper his aggression

Formula 1
Sep 14, 2021
Italian Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Italian Grand Prix Driver Ratings

Two drivers produced maximum-score performances as, for the second year in a row, Monza threw up an unpredictable result that left several others ruing what might have been

Formula 1
Sep 13, 2021
Why Ricciardo was set for Monza F1 triumph even without Verstappen/Hamilton crash Plus

Why Ricciardo was set for Monza F1 triumph even without Verstappen/Hamilton crash

The clash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton was the major flashpoint the 2021 Italian Grand Prix will be remembered for. Yet by this point, race leader Daniel Ricciardo had already done the hard work that would put him in position to end his and McLaren's lengthy win droughts, on a memorable afternoon in Monza

Formula 1
Sep 13, 2021
Why Italian GP success is on for McLaren even if Verstappen dominates Plus

Why Italian GP success is on for McLaren even if Verstappen dominates

For the second time in 2021, McLaren will line up for the start of a grand prix from the first row. It knows it has the chance of “glory” if things go well for Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris at the start of the 2021 Italian Grand Prix, but even if they just maintain their grid positions, signs from the rest of the Monza weekend suggest success is very possible for Formula 1’s other orange army

Formula 1
Sep 12, 2021
The F1 media favourite who lifted a broken Lotus Plus

The F1 media favourite who lifted a broken Lotus

Graham Hill was nearly 30 when he made his Formula 1 debut. NIGEL ROEBUCK examines the life of a gifted racer whose talismanic personality defined an era

Formula 1
Sep 11, 2021