Kimi Raikkonen is unfazed that he is writing the next chapter in the long and illustrious history of Italian giants, Ferrari. “Of course I know the history but I don’t really know the details because it’s not going to change my life,” Raikkonen explained, deadpan. “It is a very big famous team and I am happy to be part of it.”
Raikkonen spent four years with McLaren before switching to Ferrari for the 2007 season to replace a retiring Michael Schumacher. Finishing second in the driver’s championship twice, Raikkonen must surely be hoping for better things with Ferrari and has admitted that the prospect of driving for one of the most glamorous teams in F1 was an enticing one.
“It is always exciting, especially with a new team,” Raikkonen explained. “Everything is new. We’ve done a lot of testing but it’s the race that matters. The car seems good so it’s exciting to get to the first race and see how it goes.We want a good strong race as a team and we’ll just have to see what happens. It’s a big difference with a new team of good people to work with. It seems to be going very well. It has been an exciting month and a nice experience.”
Asked if he was fazed about taking over from one of the greatest racing drivers in history, Raikkonen replied, “Not really. I’ve got expectations on myself – I want to win races and fight for the championship. That’s what the team wants. McLaren has been strong in testing, Renault was quite good and BMW. These three teams will be our main rivals but we will wait and see.”
Raikkonen arrived slightly late in Melbourne because he was racing in a skidoo race in Finland. He raced under the name of James Hunt, although this choice seems purely coincidental as he doesn’t have a favourite race driver. “The race just came up,” Raikkonen said. “It doesn’t matter if I did it under my own name. It could have been any other name.”