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Todt on the British GP, motivation, difficult years and Button

NEWS STORY
11/07/2005

Sitting down for his traditional post-race media de-brief, Jean Todt was clearly disappointed, his team, for the second successive week, demonstrating a worrying lack of pace.

However, the topic on everyone's mind wasn't the lack of pace or Michael Schumacher's title hopes, but the claim by British tabloid, The Daily Mirror, that Ferrari is aiming to make a £20m bid for the services of Jenson Button.

Any comments on that Jean?

"You are talking about speculation," he replies. "Zero per cent true.

After a short silence, he continues: "You are talking about two different things. You ask me if it's true, that speculation, and I tell you it's not true. If we forget that, you ask me if he's a good driver: sure he's a good driver but again, it's what I was tell your colleagues.

"We have a lot of good drivers, but you need the whole combination: the car, the reliability, the tyres, the engine and the driver. If you have the whole package, then you are able…" he pauses. "Look what is happening from one race to another, from one year to another. I was talking about some drivers who finished second, not with a Ferrari this year. They are not in the points. Suddenly, he's got 'sunburn'.

"So you need the whole package. In a way, to judge a driver, there is only one good way to judge, it's amongst two teammates. Then you can really know who is the best among them, but otherwise, not possible."

Inevitably, his team's performance in the British Grand Prix is mentioned, was it a nasty surprise for him, a wake up call?

"An unpleasant surprise," he admits, "but we were facing the same situation as one week ago. It was about the same, not worse. If you take the quickest lap time during the race, last week, this week, if you see what has happened on Friday when we were very competitive, then Saturday struggling a bit more, and then Sunday during the race struggling much more."

The Maranello outfit has a major test lined up this week, will that improve matters?

"First we need to analyse because testing for testing sake doesn't make us quicker," he replies. "We need to analyse why on Friday we are competitive, why on Saturday we may lose performance and why on Sunday we definitely lose a lot of performance. We need to analyse why.

"To identify the problem is quite easy," he adds, "to solve the problem is more difficult and that's what we have to do.

Michael Schumacher has said that the performance at Silverstone compared to the North American races, is a step backwards. Is he right?

The Frenchman sighs: "It is true. Since a few races, we have moved backwards. Again, if you see the lap times during the race, very often this year we did the quickest lap time or very close to the quickest. At Magny Cours we were 1.3s off, here we were 1.2s behind the quickest time. Our competitors managed to do the quickest time on the last lap. After the 20th lap, we struggled more and more, so we went backwards."

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