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There's a long way to go, insists Todt

NEWS STORY
29/05/2007

Jean Todt has dismissed his team's distant third place in Sunday's Monaco Grand Prix as a one-off. Felipe Massa was over a minute behind the winning McLaren of Fernando Alonso, while Kimi Raikkonen salvaged eighth after a qualifying accident. Todt is convinced that a similar result is unlikely at the next round of the championship in Canada in two weeks time.

"We all know that Monte Carlo is a specific place," said the Frenchman. "Take last year's race and the one before and you will see that the 2006 Monte Carlo race was different to Canada, two weeks afterwards. I would say we have some history, some documentation about that."

Todt went on to point out that it wasn't only McLaren who had challenged Ferrari over the last few years at Monaco, although the Fernando Alonso - Lewis Hamilton one-two on Sunday was McLaren's 12th win in the principality. "I'm not talking about one team. Last year it was not McLaren, it was Renault.

"We knew from the beginning that McLaren are very strong and here they were stronger, so it was no surprise to find that. Let's just say congratulations. We need to fight in the remaining races in the championship. Arriving here I must say that qualifying was very close for Felipe because he finished less than one tenth behind Hamilton, 65/100ths if I remember, and Kimi had his qualifying problem and he could not go all the way through qualifying and ended up 16th. But saying that, McLaren were quickest and basically there's nothing else to say."

Todt went on to explain that there were other reasons for the minute plus margin between the McLarens and Massa's Ferrari. It has been suggested that Ferrari's longer wheelbase was the reason for the lack of pace on the tight, winding streets of the Principality.

"You talk about pace. Yet if you take it up to the first pit stop, Felipe was right behind Hamilton. Then we decided to put on softer tyres, the others stayed on the harder tyres. Then Felipe took over five laps to pass one car and in those five laps he lost 15 seconds. We knew the best he could do was third unless the others in front had a problem. So he stayed in third position."

Todt also emphasised that Kimi Raikkonen is still very much a championship contender, even though, after five rounds, he has a 15 point deficit to the World Championship leaders.

"It's still very open, very open," he said. "If there were two races to go, then a 15 point deficit would be impossible. But 15 points with 12 races to go, which is an average of 1.25 points per race, that is not so much."

In spite of there being no testing between Monaco and Montreal, the team will still be pushing hard.

"We have a few modifications which we will have for the next race. You must always push harder. We respect our competitors very much. They are very good, they are very strong. They have been more reliable than us at the beginning of the season. Some others are fighting hard behind us, so we have to push.

"Since the beginning of the season, two teams have been ahead of the others, and I think it will be like that for a while, but as I said before, some others behind are working hard and I'm sure we can progress. We need to progress more than the others."

Once again, Michael Schumacher was overseeing Ferrari's operation at Monaco and Todt took the opportunity to explain his involvement.

"He has been observing and if he feels he has something to say he will speak with the engineers."

However, the Frenchman wouldn't go so far as to say that the German had a major influence in the team's decisions.

"You know the team is quite well organised," said the Frenchman. "We rely on the people who spend all the time in Maranello or at the track to improve the car and the development of the car, but Michael's input is always very interesting and makes everybody happy."

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