Raikkonen vows to thrive again at Ferrari 16 Jan 2009
A determined Kimi Raikkonen has vowed to return to his title-winning ways after enduring a disappointing season in 2008. Speaking at Ferraris annual Wrooom media event, Raikkonen explained that, while he is happy that his motor racing future lies at the Italian team, he wants to achieve more in 2009.
"This is my third season with Ferrari and I'm motivated and I want to win, as usual," said the Finn, who took the drivers' championship in 2007. "Last year didn't go as I wanted, especially during the second half of the season. But we learned a lot. I feel fine at Ferrari, otherwise I wouldn't be here today.
I'm convinced that it was the right choice when I came to join the team. I've got a contract until the end of the 2010 season. At a certain point during the next season we'll think about what to do. But I think that this will be the last Formula One team I'll race with.
With wide-ranging regulation changes coming into force this year, including an in-season test ban, Raikkonen is aware that the time on spent on track before Marchs season opener will be more important than ever. And the Finn, who is yet to sample the new F60, is clearly keen to get his test programme underway.
"There are many changes as far as technology is concerned, he added. I think that it will be extremely interesting. There will be many things to set up and a lot of work for the team. The limits as far as the tests during the winter are concerned and the fact that we can't test during the season is a very demanding challenge.
If we can start with a competitive car, things will work out just fine, otherwise it could be difficult to catch up. I think that also our working style will change, at the works and on the track. Fridays will not be dedicated just to setting up the car for the race anymore, but also for trying out new solutions."
As well as adjusting to the varied rule changes, Raikkonen will also be working with a new race engineer this year. Chris Dyer, with whom he won the title in 2007, has moved on to another role at the Italian team and will be replaced by Andrea Stella, who has been promoted from his position as Raikkonens performance engineer.
"After many years in the same position Chris wanted to change and now he'll work as coordinator of all the engineers working at the track and at the test sessions, Raikkonen explained. I worked very well with him and Andrea, who has always been part of the group of engineers working on my car. We already worked with Andrea in his new position during the tests last December and it went very well.
Next week Raikkonen will sample the F60 at Portugal's Algarve Motor Park, before heading to Finland to compete in the arduous Arctic Lapland Rally from Thursday.