Raikkonen ready to defend his crown 07 Jan 2008
Reigning world champion Kimi Raikkonen is looking forward to the start of the 2008 season and believes that he has a real chance of clinching another drivers title.
Speaking at the launch of Ferraris new challenger, the F2008, Raikkonen was upbeat about his '08 prospects, as he and team mate Felipe Massa race to protect the Italian teams title double.
We will definitely try to win the drivers' and constructors' championship again, said the Finn. It's my second year at Ferrari. I know the people I am working with and I really like the team. We want to start really well into a great season. We want to win the world titles again and we want to avoid retirements.
As in 2007, Raikkonen is expecting McLaren to be Ferraris main competition for race wins, but the 28 year-old acknowledges that there are other teams who are hoping to up their game this season.
We have to see how the test sessions and the first Grands Prix of the season will go, he said. McLaren will be there for sure. And then theres BMW. It will be a difficult year.
With new regulations also coming into force in 2008, Raikkonen is aware that there are other issues to contend with, and the Finn believes that coping with these changes, which include the banning of traction control and the arrival of new standardised electronic control units, will play a crucial role.
There is no traction control anymore and we have to adapt to this fact, which is quite something, he explained. There are also other control systems missing, which we were still using during the last year. But we are really satisfied with the new car and its modifications. The cockpit of the F2008 is tighter and also the car is smaller. We have to be ready for these changes.
The F2008 will take to the circuit for the first time on Monday at Ferrari's Fiorano test track for a brief shakedown, ahead of next weeks multi-team test in Jerez, Spain.