Press conference with Raikkonen & Massa 15 Jan 2007
After Sunday's launch of Ferraris new challenger, the F2007, the teams two race drivers, Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa, spoke about the new car and the season ahead
Kimi Raikkonen: "I've just seen the F2007 in the plant and it is very beautiful and it will be exciting to see it on the track tomorrow. I can't wait to start the new season and I expect it to be a very challenging one, even though I think we are up for the championship. I have been received here in a very nice way and I have a good feeling. It is nice to be with Ferrari and I do not want to make any comparisons to the past. It's a completely different story. Let's put it like this - in Maranello it is just as I expected it to be.
"That I had some spare time over the last months hasn't been bad, even though a forced break doesn't help to get back into the rhythm easily. Now I will get back into the car and start the phase in which I will adapt to the car. We have to work together and we have to give it our all. I will be here tomorrow to see the F2007 run. It is always very interesting to see a new race car on its first laps. The most important thing to go fast is to have a good feeling with the car. Here everything is different to what I have seen until now in my career. This is a team that welcomed me in a very warm hearted way; I think I have made a good decision when I decided to come to Ferrari.
"I will definitely learn Italian because it is very important to adapt as much as possible to the environment. Obviously it will take some time. Little by little I will also arrive there, but anyway there won't be any problems because everyone in the team speaks English.
"In the year 2007 the car and the tyres will be different, but I have my way of working and I will adjust to new conditions. I already changed team, car and method, so I have some experience in this field. Here you work to the maximum but the climate is more relaxed. For me it is a perfect environment.
"I don't know exactly when I will drive the new car; tomorrow after the shakedown we will know more. I don't think that Bridgestone as sole tyre provider will be a real advantage for us, because the tyres are different anyway compared to the last season. In the upcoming season the tyres will be the same for everybody and I expect us to get the most out of it. As far as I am personally concerned, I expect that the first test will give me some more precise information on that subject."
Felipe Massa: "I've already seen the car in the wind tunnel before Christmas and I've seen it again today in the plant. The car is very beautiful and has many more details than the one from 2006, such as the front suspension. There are many positive elements and I am really motivated to drive the car.
"This car has many aspects, which are the fruits of the work that has been done at the end of the last season. The driving angle has slightly changed, I already tried out the seat and I must say that there will be no problem to adjust to it, because the change is minimal. As I drove a lot with the 248 F1, in the beginning I will have the responsibility to give a lot of feedback to the technicians. We will already see by tomorrow if everything works and then we will take the car to Mugello and continue to further develop. Continuity is certainly important.
"I have always had good team mates on the squad and the best thing is to have a fast team mate to be able to compare myself to. I have learned a lot from Michael (Schumacher) and above all during the second part of the year I grew enormously. On the other hand it is nice to work with Kimi; we will work together to make the car victorious. We still have to get to know each other, because we just met last week. He looks like someone with whom I can work very well. To come to a new team is never easy, because you need to build confidence, but here I was immediately able to arrive at a high level of competitiveness. It is just a matter of wanting and lots of motivation to work together, and this is what Kimi is doing.
"The new tyres will radically change the way of driving. There is much less grip and I think that I have already adjusted myself to this new kind of situation, thanks to the teams' work, with whom we studied the new setups. It will be different for all of us, as we all start from the same set of conditions.
"Michael will be helpful to Kimi and I. He is happy to be able to help the team. For all of us the collaboration of someone like him will be very important. Obviously Kimi and I have to think about winning, to put our cars ahead of everybody else. It is important to be consistent in every single race, from the beginning of the season, especially considering how it went last year. There will be lots of competitors; there are many teams working hard; there could also be some surprises. We should not only think about the actual world champion. We also have to see how Renault works without Alonso. It is important to continue working well, just as we are doing right now."