Fuji debacle exposed Ferrari ‘weakness’ – Coulthard

Wed, 3 October 2007, 12:44

Starting the Japanese grand prix on the wrong tyres exposed a “weakness” of the post-Michael Schumacher and Ross Brawn era at Ferrari, according to F1 veteran David Coulthard.

Chiefs for the Maranello based team slammed the FIA after an pre-race email from Charlie Whiting, banning cars from starting behind the safety car with anything other than Bridgestone’s ‘extreme’ wet tyres fitted, allegedly did not find its way to the decision-makers until after the start.

But others in the Fuji Speedway paddock expressed amazement that, given the severity of the conditions on Sunday afternoon, a team would have fitted the intermediate tyre out of choice anyway.

“I must say I was amazed,” Coulthard, who drives for Red Bull, wrote in his column for ITV.

“There was just no way intermediates could have worked,” the Scot added, referring to the abundance of standing water on the circuit.

Coulthard said: “I don’t believe Michael Schumacher and Ross Brawn would have done that in this instance and I think it shows a weakness on Ferrari’s part.”

Ferrari boss Jean Todt, however, defended the decision, explaining that the rain had eased to just “very small drizzle” before the race.

“Once the race started, then the rain got much more intense so definitely, if we would have the choice, knowing that rain would increase as it did, our choice would probably have been very different,” the Frenchman admitted.

“If we would have been informed that there was no choice of tyre, that everyone would start on the same tyre, then it would have been easier for us.”

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