Ferrari boss Jean Todt has revealed that he was not among those taking a punt on Kimi Raikkonen overturning a seven-point deficit to clinch his first Formula One world title on Sunday, but admits that he is happy nonetheless.

Reflecting on the Interlagos 'miracle' 48 hours after Ferrari had wrapped up its second title of the season, Todt confessed to not having been confident enough to place a wager on Raikkonen's ability to claw back the gap to Lewis Hamilton with one race remaining, but insists that he never gave up hope of guiding the Finn to the crown.

"We must not forget that, in Japan, he was 17 points behind and, today, he is one point ahead," the Frenchman mused, "He took 18 points in two races, and everybody who was betting on him must be happy tonight. I did not bet on him, but the team did a fantastic job. I always said when we were meeting after races that, until mathematically it is over, we still believe we can make it. That is what we did. Don't forget that Kimi won the first race, so we were strong from the beginning of the championship. We had too many failures but, at the end, we can be happy tonight."

Unable to make another reference to the lingering espionage row that has engulfed the two leading teams this season - "I believe in fair things and it was to the right team and the right driver - but it should not be me who says that" - Todt was delighted that, despite rumours to the contrary, the new era at Ferrari had been instantly successful

"It was a transition year," he stressed, "There is no point in going back over the reasons why it was different than it was over the last years. We knew it was a different challenge, but that is what we like. We knew we had everything to be successful and we have to learn from what we did not do properly out of this year to be better next year.

"You know, for me, the most fascinating thing is a human being. And you don't compare people. So I will not compare Michael [Schumacher] to Kimi, I will not compare [technical director] Mario Almondo or [designer] Aldo Costa to Ross Brawn or Rory Byrne. But we have common points - they are dedicated people, willing to do the best they can, with team spirit. And the most important thing is to make sure that we have the overall level, the mentality and the determination.

"We have been trying to face where we can improve, what did not go well enough over the weekend, and it is a big focus. But I always said that we are not genius. We are proper people blowing the wind in the right direction and it makes us go quick, even if sometimes we go in the wrong direction."

Emphasising the team element, Todt closed by claiming that not even Schumacher won titles on his own.

"Michael arrived in 1996 after being twice world champion and he scarcely managed to win three races," he said of the German's early days at Maranello, "Why? Simply because the car was not good or reliable enough. So do not think that Michael did everything on his own. He made a strong contribution to the team but, without the team, he would not have been able to achieve a lot.

"It so depends on the car we give to the drivers. Definitely, we have two drivers who are able to win races if they have a good car, so it is up to the team to be able to deliver them a reliable and performing car. Then both can do it."

 

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