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Todt: The championship is still attainable

NEWS STORY
04/04/2005

Although there is a ray of light in the distance, Ferrari came away from Bahrain empty handed. After yet another long, difficult, weekend, team boss Jean Todt sat down to face the press.

Referring to that 'ray of light', Michael Schumacher had put the F2005 on the front row of the grid and spent the first 11 laps shadowing Fernando Alonso.

"It's true that, with Michael, throughout the weekend, we had the possibility to check that the potential of the new F2005 was considerable," he replies. "Unfortunately, we didn't reap the benefits of this potential, given Michael's retirement on the eleventh lap with a hydraulic leak.

"So that's the most disappointing angle," he continues, "the most frustrating. As for Rubens, who was handicapped by a gearbox problem throughout the weekend, he could only do the qualifying sessions on Saturday and Sunday morning and then started on the back row of the grid and fought back superbly. Unfortunately, it was with a car that wasn't ideally suited to him, so that he used his rear tyres too hard and he lost all possibility of scoring points. Having said that, it was an interesting test session which I hope will bear fruit in the next race at Imola."

Having opted to bring the debut of the F2005 forward, Todt was asked if it a surprise how good the car had been, given its lack of testing. "We knew that we had a good car, that was the reason why we brought forward its debut," he responds. "But having said that, a good car isn't enough, you need a car that finishes races and finishes in the points.. and if possible on the top step of the rostrum. That's what we've got used to over the last few years and we have every intention of doing that again as soon as possible."

There is now a break of three weeks before Imola, so in what direction will the team be working. "We want to get to know the car better," he admits, "to cure the reliability problems that we encountered, to work closer with Bridgestone, and then I think if we can do that with some success, then we shouldn't be in too bad a situation for the championship."

Having been so accustomed to regular success, the start of the 2005 campaign mush have come as something of a shock, he is asked. "I know racing so well after so many years," he replies, smiling. "You get to know that things are never easy and that when there are cycles, they can end at one moment or another.

"I hope that the cycle that came to an end at the start of this season is simply a temporary feature; whatever, that's what we hope to prove very quickly. e are always motivated, but that's not enough. You have to work hard and in the right direction and be capable of solving our problems."

Renault has gone on record as saying that they 'forced' Ferrari to introduce the F2005 five weeks early because of their speed, and that consequently you have been pressured into making mistakes with it this weekend.

"I prefer to answer your questions than refer to a competitor's comments," he replies. "I think they do a great job and they should concentrate on that, rather than concentrating…" he pauses, "maybe they have some advice to give us, in which case they should send us some people!" he adds, smiling again.

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