Jean Todt talks about 2007 F1 season
Scarperia (Florence) - Numerous national and international journalists where present at the press conference of the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro. Jean Todt started the meeting with the press, saying: "I wouldn't have placed a bet to be here today with the success of the driver's championship with Kimi Raikkonen in his first season as a driver for the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro. This means that this is a demonstration that our mentality, never to never give up and to believe for as long as you can believe. The last race was incredible: We knew that we had to finish 1st and 2nd and Kimi had to finish before Felipe in order to keep Alonso back and Hamilton had to be in the best hypothesis 6th. And this is what happened. All these factors had to come together and this is what happened in the end; our capacity to reach an extraordinary double-win."
"We lost the 2006 championships at the last race because of problems with reliability. This year we had more or less the same problems, but we dedicated some thought to that and we analyzed everything. We changed the organization of the racing division after men like Ross Brawn and Paolo Martinelli went to look for a different philosophy of life. This year 2007 was a transition, so it is even nicer that we can celebrate both championship wins today. We suffered and there were many unhappy moments." But Ferrari CEO Todt remembered the six victories by Kimi and the three by Felipe, with his six pole positions over the last season. Obviously Todt also spoke about the spy affair, which was a surprise for everybody. "I wouldn't have expected this betrayal from one of ours," Todt said. "Who for personal reasons wanted to help another team and I didn't expect them (McLaren) to accept his help. But that is what happened. We cried and they cried worse."
The final result of the driver's championship is not really a final one, because there is an appeal, which will be judged on the 15th November in Paris. But what's important for us that is the result on the track," Todt said. "The truth lies in the middle between the two," Todt said, when asked if it was one person (Ron Dennis) or a whole team (McLaren), having committed the sin. "It's a group of people who have accepted to receive information from someone. But you have the same level of info as we had, too. Ferrari never thought about any other measures than on the race track. Just like Enzo Ferrari did 20 years ago, when he built a car for the Indycar racing series," Todt said. "Those were different times. Still in the 90s in Formula One Ferrari was the only team building chassis and engine, all the other teams built chassis and used the same engine, the Cosworth, and there was no legal agreement between the teams in the championship either. We do have many other programs for your clients. Yesterday we celebrated with them the win in the FIA GT championships with the 430 and the victory in the ALMS."
As far as the main factor is concerned, that brought the team to win the title in this difficult season, Todt said: "This year was especially difficult. But the result is the result of the team working together. It's teamwork and we had a good team. And in the end, even with problems concerning the reliability, we made it. The best driver without a good car can't do anything. Its teamwork and we had a good team."
Answering the question if he had already digested the bitterness, Felipe said: "I am not someone who looks back at what has happened. I look ahead. I look at the future. It's important to look forward. We have the whole winter to produce a good car, to have the most competitive car possible." Todt added that "Felipe is happy with Ferrari and Ferrari is happy with Felipe. And his contract has been extended until 2010."
As far as the next season is concerned Kimi said: "Next year should be easier not just for me but also for the team. This year we had some difficulties to get the car right, as I wanted. We'll see what we do for the new car. It's very hard to say at this point how good the car will be. But we have great expectations. We'll see what happens next year. But we have a good feeling." About the new regulations, that from next year on traction control will be banned from the cars, Kimi said: "When I came to Formula One we didn't have traction control. There are so many things coming up. I think it'll be good fun and more challenging, too. And taking the traction control away will give us more opportunities to overtake." But Felipe said that he had never worked under these conditions. "It's difficult to say. Like as Kimi said. It's too soon. We haven't yet driven cars without traction control. It's just a habit. We'll see if we need to change our driving style or we need to change the car."
At that point Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo showed up and said: "I really have to congratulate Kimi. We have the best drivers in the world," expressing his admiration also for the other drivers fighting in the championship. But "this victory shows the level of our drivers." After wishing Bernie Ecclestone a happy birthday, who, Montezemolo said, has a great passion for Ferrari he spoke about Max Mosley ("I would like to express my respect for president Mosley.") and the team spirit and creativity of the group, the basis of a great company, which he is proud to represent for "many more years." "As always with Todt we will announce the structure of Ferrari at the end of the year. But the strength of the company is the stability of its men, the growth of our people, our technicians, our engineers, the whole team, inside the sports management and the company itself. The revolution, I hear you talking about very often, we'll leave to your imagination."