Raikkonen will start his second tenure for Ferrari in Australia where he won on debut for the team back in 2007. However, he left in 2009 under a cloud as the relationship between the driver and the team broke down.
Critics have slated the Finn’s decision to return to Ferrari given that, with Fernando Alonso, it creates a line-up with two high-powered drivers. However, Domenicali’s comments suggest that Raikkonen’s second stint has got off to a good start.
“I have found a more mature Kimi, more closely knit to the team,” Domenicali explained to the team’s official website. “He comes to Maranello almost every week to work with the engineers. He knows his worth and he knows what team he has returned to and what challenges he will face, having a world champion like Alonso alongside him for whom he has respect and he will have to adapt to working with him.”
After a solid performance at the first test in Jerez – where only Mercedes completed more laps than Ferrari – Domenicali is cautiously optimistic for the season ahead as the team goes in search of its first title since 2008.
“In Jerez, we saw the F14 T get off on the right foot, responding well to changes, while the basic data corresponds to the parameters established in the wind tunnel and there were no bad surprises,” he said. “Clearly there is still much to do because it’s impossible to start with a perfect car in a season featuring so many changes. The start of the championship will be full of unknown quantities and it is far too early to make any sort of prediction.
“My optimism is based on the fact we know which areas need working on: caution is always a good approach, but that doesn’t mean the people working on this project lack the commitment or the will to show our competitors how well we can do things at Ferrari.”
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic.