It's been a bit of an uncomfortable time for Ferrari lately, as the team trails behind McLaren in the competitive stakes and is beset by speculation about its future driver line up. On top of that there was the surprise of the Scuderia lodging a...
It's been a bit of an uncomfortable time for Ferrari lately, as the team trails behind McLaren in the competitive stakes and is beset by speculation about its future driver line up. On top of that there was the surprise of the Scuderia lodging a legal complaint against one of its senior staff, Nigel Stepney, all of which has put the rumour mill into overdrive about a supposed crisis situation at Maranello.
It's not exactly unknown for the words 'Ferrari' and 'crisis' to be nailed together at any inconceivable moment but as far as Kimi Raikkonen is concerned things are looking up. The team tested at Silverstone last week and the Finn is confident that the car will be good this coming weekend at the French Grand Prix.
"We had a very good test in Silverstone: the car was much better than at the races in North America," Raikkonen said. "So I'm really very confident of the race in Magny-Cours. We have new components, above all in the section of aerodynamics; and we have taken a step forward as far as the performance is concerned."
"If it is enough, we'll only know in France, when we go on the track under the same conditions as our competitors. This is the question mark you always carry with you after the tests. What we know for sure is that we think that we are competitive."
Once again Raikkonen underlined the importance of qualifying: the two McLaren drivers have locked out the front row of the grid in the last three consecutive races and that's something Ferrari has to put a stop if it wants to get the upper hand. "This year it is fundamental to start from the front row, because it is very difficult to drive, when you're stuck behind other cars," he commented.
"Unfortunately I've experienced that quite often at these races. I'm more and more confident with the F2007: we found a good setup, what you could already see in the race at Indianapolis. Now we have to transfer what we've seen yesterday afternoon and at Silverstone to the next two Grands Prix."
Raikkonen, who currently lies fourth in the drivers' championship standings behind the McLarens and his teammate Felipe Massa, has never taken victory at Magny-Cours. Naturally he hopes that he can add that win to his tally this weekend. "It's true, I never came in first here, but I really enjoy driving on this track," he said.
"The tarmac is extremely even and the track offers slow and fast corners; that makes it very challenging. Good aerodynamics and good traction for the exits of the slow corners are very important here. Five years ago I came close to victory: I was leading the race, but then I spun off the track due to oil lost by a Toyota and Michael passed me to win his fifth of his seven titles. I hope that this year things will be different!"
"I don't know yet if we will race at Magny-Cours next year: maybe there will be new tracks, such as Valencia and Singapore; it's always nice for a driver to discover new circuits. After the first seven races of the season, we need to close the gap on our competitors: we will give our best to achieve that goal, right from the start."