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DATE News (chronologically)
08/25/08
f1
Ferrari defends pit mistake, Raikkonen
Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali fended questions on three hot topics in his post-race press conference on the shores of the Valencia America's Cup yacht basic after Sunday European Grand Prix in Spain.

The two pit stops incidents were the burning questions, with Domenicali quick to point out that the mechanic injured when Kimi Raikkonen left the pit prematurely had only suffered a fracture of a toe.

"He's very happy that we won," said Domenicali. "As an example of the team atmosphere, he said to me 'I'm very sorry, I'm very sorry' and it was not his fault. It just shows how Ferrari people are, the passion that they have, the way they behave and the professionalism that they put in every day. We need to be very proud of the guys who work in this team."

Domenicali explained how the team no longer uses a lollypop, but a system of lights in a pod directly in front of the driver. "The system works in the following way. When the fuel nozzle is connected to the car, you see that there is a red light on. At a certain moment, you see that there is a flashing light that is close to the red light, telling the driver that he has to be ready. Then, as soon as the nozzle comes off, the light becomes green unless the guy that is controlling the pit stop position overrides it manually, because there is a car in the fast lane coming through, so he has to delay the car. That is how the system works. We've used it since last year."

Was it too complicated, Domenicali was asked? "I don't think so, to be honest. When there is a red flight, it's a red light, it's like the lollypop is down. I don't think that we need to go towards that depth. Of course we need to make sure that the system is always working, that is something that we have to make sure, but this is another story." Domenicali explained that the light was red when Raikkonen attempted to rejoin.

That fact that teams no longer have a T-car to do pit stop training on Saturday morning was not an issue, explained Domenicali. "We are doing pit stop practice at home, trying to do more simulation or some rehearsals at home, but the fact that we can't do it at a race I don't think is a problem."

Domenicali said that the team would respect the fine levied on the team for the unsafe release of future winner Massa from the pits. "We've received a fine for the team and not for the driver. To be honest, we didn't consider that as an unsafe move. As you could see, there was no obstruction, there was no braking. Felipe was on the right hand side, he stopped and the Force India let him through but that was the view of the FIA and we have to respect it."

Finally, there was Raikkonen's spectacular engine failure. "Unfortunately, like the last time in Hungary for Felipe, there was no indication at all: we saw the smoke on the main straight once again. And we are now disassembling the engine to understand what is the real problem, so I cannot give you an answer straight away as to what the problem was because the guys are still working on the engine. But there was no warning at all."

Team says they will stick behind Raikkonen despite his lack of pace
Finally, Domenicali said that the team would support Raikkonen during what is a difficult time. "Of course, it's easy when things are going well. Everyone close to you puts their arms on your shoulders to say you are number one, number one, number one, But then suddenly when you have a difficult situation, then they say, ha ha, this is already finished.

"That's not the case with Kimi. He's the World Champion, we are a team, and of course we will support everyone in the team, and above all, of course Kimi, because we trust him 100 percent. It's in the difficult moments that the team has to stay together. We don't have any doubt at all about Kimi's performance and I'm pretty sure he will come back between here and the end in Brazil." 

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