Ferrari team boss Jean Todt has again admitted that the Scuderia is paying the price of two key decisions over tyres - one made in Maranello, the other at FIA headquarters.

Although he is reluctant to admit that the problems stemmed from Ferrari's desire to steal a march over its competitors and build a close, almost one-on-one, relationship with Bridgestone, Todt now claims that being the Japanese manufacturer's only frontrunning team is playing into the hands of its rivals. Bridgestone has still to come up with a tyre to match the best on offer from Michelin following the FIA's move to outlaw tyre changes during grands prix - the other 'key decision' - leaving Ferrari to flounder around in midfield at most events this year.

"We are the only top team with Bridgestone but, if we used the same tyres as another very top team, it would be easier to answer [the questions being posed in 2005,"the Frenchman sighed, "At the moment, we don't know. We sometimes try to compare with Jordan and Minardi, but they don't use the same [specification of] tyres."

Todt also admitted that it was impossible to draw on the experience of past seasons, owing to the alteration in technical regulations introduced for 2005.

"This year, the car is again a new specification of aerodynamics, one engine for two races, so it's different from last year," he said, "We supply the same engine to Sauber, so we have some way of comparing [that element]. For sure, we cannot say that it's one part the engine, one part the tyres, one part the aerodynamics, but
let's say the package is not giving what we used to have in the past and is not giving what we are expecting.

"But, saying that, we were using the same car in Budapest - with completely different tyres - and we saw that we were very quick in qualifying, we were very quick for the first third of the race. Only then did we start to drop performance, so it gives us and our partners some indications. But then you have to analyse those indications. It's a very complicated thing. If it would be easy, we would not be facing this situation."

The situation could change in the future, following suggestions that Toyota and Red Bull Racing could change to Bridgestone as early as next year, something which Todt clearly approves of.

"We will do combined testing and they will do some mileage," he said, "Then we will definitely get some advantage out of that."

The Ferraris struggled for grip throughout the Turkish Grand Prix weekend, with world champion Michael Schumacher suffering several off-track excursions, one of which saw him condemned to start from the back row of the grid.

"We knew that, in all fairness, arriving at a new circuit, you can always have one unexpected surprise," Todt admitted of Istanbul, "But, on Friday morning, we understood that the surprise was not the right one we could have expected.

"We came here with some older specifications [of tyre], because what we had in Budapest was not going to be used here - could not be used here. There was definitely no light [at the end of the tunnel] here. It was very dark."

Always the consummate team player, Todt refused to criticise Ferrari's tyre supplier for the problems.

"You know, in life, you have minuses and plusses, and the plusses are still so big compared to the minuses," he insisted, "The plusses are so much due to their support that, at the moment, it's normal. We are always reacting to what's just happened but, when we do a strategy consideration, a strategic plan, we have to think back over
the last five years.

"The biggest difference from last year to this year is the tyre rule. We could change tyres last year and, as I said three weeks ago, if we could have changed the tyres in Budapest, we would have won the race. That was clear. But I'm not complaining about that. Let's just say that the one tyre for qualifying and the race has been very bad for us and we are paying mainly because of that.

"Now, I want to finish in the best position possible. I've lost the dream to win both championships, but at least we can secure third position."

 

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