GP Bahrain, interviste giovedì–03/04/2014
Kimi Raikkonen certain Ferrari capable of closing gap to F1 leaders
Kimi Raikkonen believes Ferrari has big gains to come that will help it get on terms with Formula 1 pacesetter Mercedes.
Although the Maranello-based outfit has not finished on the podium yet this season, the team is confident that the rapid development rate of the new 2014 turbo engines means it can make big improvements.
Raikkonen said ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix that while Mercedes remained favourite, the competitive picture would change so much this season that the title fight was not yet an exclusive affair between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.
"Obviously they have been looking strong over the test and over the first two races, but I am sure we have some big gains that will come," said Raikkonen.
"I am quite far away in the points, but that can all change with the new rules. And with only two races done, we try to do the best that we can.
"We try to improve but it is not easy to catch up with them. But we don’t give up. We know where we need to improve and I am sure we are going to get there."
Raikkonen has endured a tougher start to the season than team-mate Fernando Alonso because he has struggled to get comfortable with the front end of the car.
The team has focused on trying to improve the interaction of its energy harvesting, which has affected braking.
AUTOSPORT understands that revised suspension components will be tried out by Ferrari in Bahrain this weekend to help improve the front of the car further.
Despite the arrival of the new parts, Raikkonen is cautious about how quickly his problems will be fully solved, even though there were signs of progress in Malaysia.
"Overall we were much better but we were not where we wanted to be," he explained.
"There are a lot of things to improve in all areas, but we have all the right people and all the tools to fix those things.
"But those things are not easy to fix and I am sure it will take time. But we know where we want to be and where we are aiming, and we are going to get there.
"Hopefully we’ll get some better results here now if we can start a similar way in the last race, but not having the issues we had in the race."
Raikkonen: “we will get there”
Sakhir, 3 April – Kimi Raikkonen is keen to get racing this weekend, after early promise in Malaysia was wiped out on Sunday after a first lap coming together with Kevin Magnussen. “In Malaysia, the car was more or less the same as in Australia, although clearly we learned more from doing a lot of running and of course, the circuit layout in Sepang is different,” the Finn told the media at his usual Thursday press meeting. “Those factors make a difference and overall, we were much better in Malaysia, even if not quite where we want to be. Then my race was destroyed, which was not my fault, but that’s how it goes. There are a lot of things to improve in all areas, but we have the right people and all the tools we need to fix those things. It will take time, but we will get there. As for this weekend, if we start well as we did in Malaysia, but then don’t have the problems we had in the race there, we can have a better weekend.”As for how life was going with Fernando Alonso as a team-mate, the 2007 world champion explained he had more pressing matters on his mind. “I don’t have any real opinion formed yet as I’ve been putting all my effort into sorting out my side of things,” he said. “If I can do that, then we can get the results we want which is our aim. I haven’t given much thought to Fernando, apart from seeing his lap times and data of course. There’s nothing there I would not have expected.”Asked about whether or not he liked the current Formula 1 so far this season, Kimi was his usual pragmatic self. “It makes no difference if we like it or not, as we do not make the rules. We cannot change it and it is what it is. Sometimes you end up in areas that you would not choose, but you just have to make the best of it. I don’t see the point in talking about the sound of the cars or whether I like it or not.”