Team principal jokes: “I saw Kimi smiling yesterday – this is a big scoop!”
Ferrari team principal Maurizio Arrivabene has spoken of his delight at how the Scuderia has pulled together ahead of the 2015 Formula One season – and what a positive effect it's had on Kimi Raikkonen.
Since a winter of upheaval at Maranello, in which Arrivabene replaced Marco Mattiacci at the helm of the Prancing Horse's F1 team, he has been buoyed by the improved atmosphere within its ranks.
"Step by step, I think the changes we have made make a lot of sense," said Arrivabene.
"They were helping people to express themselves, their professional skills, to be liberated somehow and to express in the work that they're doing their passion for the team – that was the main change."
"The second one, not really a change, was a clear objective: pull the team together without any politics, any party or people hanging around going left, right, up or down.
"Now we are all looking in a similar direction. I'm quite proud of this.
"In spite of the results [of testing] if you go into the [pit]box now, you're going to see the atmosphere is different."
Raikkonen in bright spirits
Arrivabene, who is renowned for his ability to regale an anecdote, chose to illustrate Ferrari's renaissance with a story about Kimi Raikkonen…
"I saw Kimi smiling yesterday – this is a big scoop!" quipped Arrivabene. "And talking, he was talking!
"At one stage I was looking at him and said 'this is not Kimi'.
"And I said: 'Kimi, are you OK?' And he said 'yeah, yeah, yeah! I'm OK, no problem.'"