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Ferrari post race press conference

NEWS STORY
18/06/2007

US Grand Prix Ferrari press conference with Stefano Domenicali (sporting director) and Luca Baldisserri (head of track operations)

Kimi was the only driver to start on hard tyres because he didn't have any soft ones. Do you think that was the critical point in this race?
Stefano Domenicali: We, because of the situation yesterday, we had to use an extra set of soft for qualifying, and so the question we were discussing this morning at that stage was it better to have a set of new hard tyres or used soft in that condition, considering all the things have to be considered. And our conclusion was that was the best choice and of course, we cannot say that Kimi didn't have a good start because of all these things. I think that what we need to do is to make a good analysis of the start, to understand why we lost two positions. As we know, it's already to start behind and then if you fall down, behind other drivers, it's more difficult, because after saying that, if you look at Kimi's race today it was really good. The stint that he did was very very impressive and looking positive it's a very good sign for the future because no doubt that we are not happy about today's result, third and fourth is not what is our standard, but also because we wanted to come here in North America to try to reduce the gap and we did the opposite because we lost 15 points, in comparison to our main competitors. So for sure, it's not a very positive weekend globally here in North America, but for sure the race that Kimi did today is something that can be considered as a positive of Indianapolis.

Looking at his final stint, if Kimi had qualified third, could he have pushed the McLarens?
SD: I think that for sure to date we didn't suffer too much at the start and then get caught behind Kovailnen and Rosberg. For sure today we were quite competitive in the race, but with the if and when it's always easy to make this scenario. For sure, what is clear that our main competitors have made a step forward, above all in qualifying, and as we know, qualifying is very crucial because I would say that Luca and Luca know better than me but if you start in front then the race - unless there is a mistake or something catastrophic - the race is really difficult to gain position. So what we need to do is to keep on working, trying to understand the things that we did in the past, what we have already to be tested, for example next week in Silverstone, what we have in pocket, because we don't have to over-react, we need to work, altogether, at home, on all parts of the car, at the track, with the drivers, all the team. We were faster at the beginning of the season, McLaren is faster now and our objective is to go faster again and be faster than McLaren again, that's for sure. The message that we want to give is really we know that this is the moment that we need to react but we don't give up at all, the season is really very very long.

Why did Kimi need the extra set, did he get caught in traffic in qualifying?
Luca Baldisserri: No, he had a problem on the first set so we did 1m 12.6s on the first set. Anyway, we were very close to 12.6s, we were very close to 12.8s which was the tenth position, and we were already very close in Montreal that show in order to avoid any risk we went with another set.

The final qualifying time in Q3, did have a particular problem on that lap?
LB: Kimi? On Q3, he was similar. I'm trying to remember if we had a particular issue on some other corners but no, I don't remember that we had anything particular. To be honest, as Stefano said before, this is our pace in qualifying. Maybe a tenth better, maybe… but it would seem that when McLaren put on new tyres and they are able to do a lap, they are much more consistently quick than us. Our point is that sometimes when we put on a new set we can be very very quick but a lot of times we do mistakes and this means that we are on the limit.

What's changed on the car since the start of the season and now that's hurting that one lap pace?
LB: Well, if we knew that…

Is it a different balance, tyre temperatures….
LB: Well, there's a slightly correlation with the soft compound, with the soft new compound, so we have tried to investigate more in that direction what we are missing and that's the main point of development, but I don't think that the improvement that we have done in the car, aerodynamically, mechanically, with the engine, that we have done after the first three races have had an effect on that.

Is there a one lap symptom, is something lacking in that one fast lap, what's the symptom?
LB: Well, everybody has the same tyres, so the grip is there, because other cars are able to use the grip, that's the problem. The grip is there and you have to use the grip in the best way as possible, so that's the key point and the whole factory at home are concentrated on trying to understand this.

Kimi's fastest lap shows that the race pace is enough to challenge McLaren, so is it just the qualifying where McLaren's ahead of you?
LB: Qualifying is important, the race pace is also important. The problem is that being behind in qualifying means that we will have a difficult race and especially if we lose position at the start. So being behind other cars, again, is the performance of the car tends to decrease even more and because you have behind slow cars, you lose the 10s in the first stint and it's nearly impossible to recover, even if you have better consistency in the car, in the tyres.

So if the Silverstone test next week more about better understanding the shortcomings at the moment than about pushing ahead?
LB: Well, this will be one approach but we have a completely different aerodynamic package to try at Silverstone, so hopefully we can have another step aerodynamically. We hope that the weather will be with us to… At the moment, yeah, we have quite a lot of rainfall (forecast).

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