Plenty of work required in off season, he says.
ABU DHABI – To the assembled media at the Ferrari Finale Mondiali, having the ranking Prancing Horse driver in attendance address the gathering likely seemed like a good idea – have Kimi Raikkonen put a happy spin on the year Ferrari just had in Formula One.
But this is Kimi Raikkonen we’re talking about, so “happy spin” my not be in his vocabulary, even in the happiest moments. And this past season was not his happiest moment.
“This year was difficult for me, difficult for the team. Ferrari expects to be in the front, winning races and championships and we were pretty far from that. There is work to be done. I think in the future we have the right people to build a good car, to build a good package, but we have to work more as a team to get back to what Ferrari was some years ago.”
Abu Dhabi was, of course, quite fresh on Raikkonen’s mind, this being the scene of the final race of the season. In fact, Ferrari didn’t move out – their F1 garages are still here at Yas Marina, with the cars and the equipment, for post-season testing and for this annual celebrating of all things Ferrari.
He finished the race 10th, one spot behind departing teammate Fernando Alonso. His fastest lap was one minute, 47.736 seconds. Daniel Riccardo set the fastest lap of the race at 1 minute, 44.496 seconds. The fastest lap by Kamui Kobayshi, driving for the struggling Caterham, was 1 minute, 47.431 seconds – faster than both Ferraris.
12th for the year
This left Raikkonen 12th in the season standings, with a season-best finish of fourth – no podiums. Alonso was sixth. Ferrari was fourth in the constructor’s standings, behind Mercedes, Red Bull and Williams.
So the general spirit at the Finale Mondiali: No place to go but up. Raikkonen seems upbeat about having Sebastian Vettel as a teammate next year: “I think he will be the same friend for me now as he has been, I don’t see why that would change. We will try to boost Ferrari back to where it belongs, and I think we should have some fun as we do.
“I think the future will be bright, we just have to put ourselves in the right positon. We, as a team, have to work as a team.”
No one doubts that Ferrari will, again, return to dominance, but when is the question. Changes made, including the addition of Vettel and of Maurizio Arrivabene as Team Principal should help, but: “Are we going to be good enough to fight for the championship?” Raikkonen wondered aloud. “Time will tell. It will be difficult to try and catch up. But we will see.”
And then, one more time: “We have to work as a team.”