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Raikkonen aiming for the front in 2016 as F1 team prominent in second Ferrari floatation

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Raikkonen aiming for the front in 2016 as F1 team prominent in second Ferrari floatation
Jan 4, 2016, 2:36 PM

Kimi Raikkonen has set a target for Ferrari of challenging for the title, whilst cautioning that it will take a few races to see the full picture o...

Kimi Raikkonen has set a target for Ferrari of challenging for the title, whilst cautioning that it will take a few races to see the full picture of whether that is possible.

At the same time the parent company of the F1 team completed its flotation on the Milan stock market today, with the F1 team a prominent part of the show. This flotation strategy, which was a major cause of the break with former chairman Luca di Montezemolo in 2014, has raised much needed capital for former parent company FIAT Chrysler Automobile (FCA) and made Ferrari more autonomous.

Although the performance of the road car side is central to the performance of the stock, the results of the F1 team will now be even more closely scrutinised.

Raikkonen reckons that Ferrari will have to wait until the after the early season running before it can consider itself a challenger to Mercedes’ Formula 1 supremacy in 2016.

The Scuderia improved on its disappointing 2014 season, when it came a distant fourth in the constructors’ championship, to finish second to Mercedes last year, and the Italian team was the only other F1 outfit to score a Grand Prix victory in 2015.

Ferrari’s dramatic improvement between 2014 and 2015, as well as the smaller gap in performance to Mercedes towards the end of last season, has lead to speculation that it could improve further and topple the German marque’s dominance this year.

XPB.cc Nico Rosberg Kimi Raikkonen

But Raikkonen would not be drawn into making confident predictions of a title fight in 2016 and explained that Ferrari would have to wait until after winter testing and the opening races of the season to know if would be able to take the fight to Mercedes.

He said: “It you look at it we were much stronger than [in 2014]. Obviously, the goal is to try to be in the front. Mercedes has been strong in recent years and everyone has always tried to beat them.

“Is it going to happen? We hope so, but we have to wait at least until we put the car on the test track and in the first races. Then we will really see what position we are in. Obviously there is a lot of work done at the factory, with numbers and stuff, but it's never the same until really the car is on the track.

Kimi Raikkonen

“Then we can see quite well, after a couple of laps you know if it will be a good car or not so good. I am sure we will have a strong package but strong enough? Only time will tell.”

Ferrari completes Milan stock market floatation

Ferrari also completed its transition today to a stand-alone business away from its former parent company, Fiat Chrysler, as it made its debut on the Milan stock exchange this morning. The process began in October last year when it made its public debut on the New York Stock Exchange.

The company’s shares slipped to 41.75 euros in a broadly lower market, due to sharp falls in Chinese exchanges, were briefly suspended and then climbed to 41.90 euros, according to an Associated Press report.

XPB.cc Sergio Marchionne

Speaking about the company’s floatation, Ferrari chairman, Sergio Marchionne said: "With the listing, a new chapter is opened. [A] new threshold, a new starting line.”

As Ferrari is, “probably the most difficult brand extension" to develop, according to Marchionne, the company does not plan to make any major changes to the brand. "If you put a Ferrari sticker on a toaster it doesn't go faster," said Marchionne.

The Ferrari chairman has also warned F1 commercial boss Bernie Ecclestone that he needs to prepare a successor and to ensure that he leaves F1 in good shape for the future.

Kimi Raikkonen

Do you think Ferrari will challenge Mercedes for the title in 2016? How will the business of the F1 team’s parent company affect its on-track performance? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.
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