Ferrari boss says F1 should expect a new, happier Kimi Raikkonen
Ferrari team principal Maurizio Arrivabene believes Formula 1 will see a new, happier Kimi Raikkonen this year.
The 35-year-old endured the worst season of his F1 career in 2014 with a solitary fourth place in Belgium his best result.
The Finn, who was Ferrari’s last world champion back in 2007, was well-beaten by team-mate Fernando Alonso, finishing 106 points and six places adrift in the drivers’ standings.
He struggled with the handling of the Ferrari, which did not suit his style of being heavy on the front tyres and gentle on the rear.
But Raikkonen seemed happier during 2015’s opening test at Jerez and has said that he is feeling more comfortable with the car.
And Arrivabene says he has noticed a change in Raikkonen’s typically uncommunicative persona, joking that the Finn must be feeling "sick" because he’s smiling so much.
"He had his problems [last year]," said Arrivabene. "Problems because he was not feeling the car, especially the front.
"It was not a car that was adapted to the style of Kimi.
"He is demonstrating that these days, he is feeling the car better and he is smiling.
"This is very, very strange. It is the real scoop of the weekend."
Arrivabene added that Raikkonen’s behaviour in the garage has also been different to 2014 so far during testing.
"Kimi was also on the ground to move the car and try to adjust something," he said.
"I asked him: ‘What are you doing?’ He said ‘I was a mechanic’.
"This is the atmosphere in the team, all the guys around him were surprised to look at him and to hear him talking and talking and talking.
"I thought he was sick but he is not. It is just enthusiasm and I am sure this year Kimi can demonstrate his level.
"Kimi is very motivated and he is getting very, very well with [new team-mate] Seb [Vettel] and this is great."
Circuit: Montmelò circuit – 4.655 km
Driver: Kimi Raikkonen
Car: Ferrari SF15-T
Weather: Air temperature 4/14 °C, track temperature 9/20. Sunny
Laps/Km completed: 90/419
Fastest time: 1:24.584
Tyres used: Soft, Medium, Hard,
Programme: System checks, long runs, set-up work and tyre testing.
Kimi Raikkonen: “Today was not ideal, we had some small issues which prevented us from running as much as we wanted, but still we managed to do other stuff, try things and learn. We are going in the right direction in all areas and the team did a good job over the winter. Of course, racing is a different story from testing, but so far it has been good. The team bosses have managed to put the right people in the right places. It’s still early days, but everybody seems to enjoy it more. For the next test we’ll try to put the right things into the car”.