Ferrari boss Jean Todt has said that Kimi Raikkonen's success at the French and British grands prix has helped keep minds at Maranello focused on the job of winning the Formula One world championship at a time when attention could have wandered.

The Scuderia remains embroiled in the spy row which surfaced ahead of the Magny-Cours race, with further detail and supposition emerging at Silverstone last weekend, but Todt insists that the team in general has never lost its momentum.

"Fortunately, there is a very good spirit, people are focused," he said in the wake of Raikkonen's third win of the season, "The only thing they want to see is how to improve the situation, how to move forward in the championship. We try to keep other things away from them.

"Of course, I'm definitely not happy about this situation. I feel it's unnecessary to arrive at this kind of situation but, unfortunately, that's the situation we have to face. But, for the team [as a whole], it's not something they are involved in. They are aware of it, but the only thing where they are focused is to try to be competitive."

Although he won the season-opener in Melbourne back in March, the past two weeks have seen an awakening in Raikkonen. Whether prompted by the verbal hurry-up he received from Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo at the marque's 60th anniversary celebrations, or whether he is genuinely happier with the way his F2007 is operating, the Finn was scintillating at both Magny-Cours and Silverstone and is firmly back in then title race.

Todt, however, refuses to allow that it had taken time purely for Raikkonen to get to grips with the Bridgestone tyres, after having used Michelins in the final years of his McLaren career, claiming that the team had not provided Michael Schumacher's replacement with a front-running mount.

"The Bridgestone tyres are in a way completely new for everybody, because the specifications which were given by Bridgestone are completely different from what we had in the past," he said, claiming that the single tyre supplier situation had changed the playing field, "When we had those tyres, together with the other teams, it was completely new for us too and, probably, some car specifications, some way of driving, is more or less suitable to those tyres.

"However, I will also say that Kimi has sometimes been very happy with the car. I think of the first race in Australia, where he was on pole, set quickest lap during the race, and won. We also know that, at the races like Monte Carlo, Canada, Indianapolis, we were not at the level of our major competitor, but at Magny-Cours and [Silverstone], especially during the race, we were probably performing better than them."

With another major group test coming up before the next race, in Germany in two weekends' time, Todt is not assuming that the status quo will remain, but promised that Ferrari would be doing all it could to remain at the front.

"I don't have any idea what the situation will be for the coming races," he admitted, "That's why we need to push hard and try to improve as much as we can - on the car and definitely on the reliability. We have had too many problems with the reliability since the beginning of the season."

 

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