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Todt on Sepang, wings and 2006

NEWS STORY
20/03/2006

Although both of his cars had finished in the points in Malaysia, fifth and the sixth was not the result he'd hoped for, and certainly not what Ferrari fans around the world had expected, following the Italian team's strong start to the season in Bahrain.

Therefore, when asked about his team's performance at Sepang, Jean Todt gave a typically Gallic shrug.

"I would say that we started from the twentieth lap quite good," he began. "However, we had to start the race at the first lap, and needless to say that starting from where we started, we can only be pleased with the final result, even if it's not pleasing, generally speaking, it's the best result we could expect to do today.

"It has been a tough weekend because we had to identify a potential risk of reliability on Michael's engine, a clear problem Felipe had at the first race, which meant that we decided to change his engine, we changed it again this morning, always to try to take as little risk as possible.

"Otherwise the package was quite good, even though I feel we need to be a bit more competitive. Tyres, definitely Bridgestone made some progress and it's quite interesting to have some other good teams with Bridgestone, because we can see some development which seems promising for the future."

And will the engine problem be sorted out fairly easily?

"I think we already did one step forward with today's engine," he replies. "I think we've understood quite a lot of things. That's why the factory has been working hard and it's been positive. Even if we saw some other teams have had their problems with engine reliability and some others didn't. So we have to be focused on doing our best, not on what other people's problems.

Asked to specify the problem, he replied: "It's around the piston. We have a specific failure that comes from the component so it's around that.

'Were those engines built a week later and were they in the programme?' he is asked. "No they weren't of a different batch, they were of a different specification," he responds.

So is it a manufacturing or a component problem?

"At the moment we are still analysing, before making a final judgement," he admits. "We need to have very accurate analysis."

In terms of the championship, Todt is asked if he is disappointed that Michael finished behind Felipe.

"After two races it's too early," he replies, clearly exasperated. "Felipe could not defend his chances in his first Grand Prix in Bahrain, so I think he did a pretty good job today. He was on a different strategy and considering the traffic Michael had, he could not take advantage of the two pit stops, and Felipe could take advantage of one pit stop. It's too early, at the moment. I was very happy for Felipe to be able to…" he trails off.

"He's under a lot of pressure as well," he continues, "so it's important that he can score points and he can demonstrate that he's a very good driver."

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