The Friday preview from Montreal
A year ago the Canadian Grand Prix could scarcely have gone better for Ferrari. Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello qualified only sixth and seventh respectively, but Schumacher won and Barrichello set a new lap record.
Twelve months later, their chances of a repeat are slimmer, but yesterday Barrichello was cautiously optimistic following his podium finish in Germany two weeks ago.
We knew the car was going to go quite well in the race, the Brazilian said. There was a weak point in qualifying as we saw for both cars, then as the race developed I had quite a good chance, because I almost always had the track open for me, so I was able to push and use the three stops, so that was quite nice.
Weve made improvements since then, in testing at Monza and Silverstone last week. It is not night and day, you make small steps, but also you want to see how much you want to go faster in qualifying. If you go faster in qualifying and still have a reliable tyre like we have now, probably the best tyre in the race at the end of the race, how much do you want to lose? If you have the qualifying and you still have the tyre for the race that is fine, but if you don't then that is not so good. So we need to take a balance between them.
Silverstone last week was a bit too cold to get an opinion on things. We were not testing things for Canada specifically. It was probably our last test in Silverstone and we were testing other things apart from tyres. So you just have to balance yourself. We had two cars, we had another one in Monza, which was more to do with here. Things are better and we most definitely think our car is a fast car, it is the tyres, so we just have to take a balance and see where we are.
Asked about the chances of repeating last years Ferrari 1-2, he replied: It is very difficult to know. The track has been resurfaced. There's going to be a difference. It's a little bit of a challenge for the tyre manufacturer just to get the right tyre because of that. I have heard so many stories about the weather, maybe a bit of rain during the weekend, so it's difficult really to know. I don't think we are that far - let's put it this way, I don't think we still have the quickest car out there but we are not that far from being first and second.
Meanwhile, McLaren and Renault in particular expect to be strong, while BAR have reverted to caution after their disappointment in Nurburgring. "I think we'll be okay here," Jenson Button said yesterday, "but we're not going to touch McLaren or Renault. But if we're not in the points at the end I'll be shocked, I really will.
But he said he expects to have more power from the Honda V10 on Saturday, and added: "We had a good test at Silverstone last week, and we know what's wrong with the car.
Meanwhile, at Jordan, Formula Three team owner Trevor Carlin has left his role as sporting director and has been replaced, in an acting capacity, by Adrian Burgess.