Formula One: Raikkonen says Ferrari are on right track

Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen (left) speaks to Singaporean Muhammad Haikal Mohd Azminsham (right) and other participants of the Shell Eco-Marathon Asia at Suntec Convention and Exhibition Centre.
Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen (left) speaks to Singaporean Muhammad Haikal Mohd Azminsham (right) and other participants of the Shell Eco-Marathon Asia at Suntec Convention and Exhibition Centre.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

2007 world champ sure that F1's most successful team will return to glory days

In the last race of the 2007 season, Kimi Raikkonen won his only world championship in spectacular fashion, overturning a seven-point deficit at the Brazilian Grand Prix to clinch the drivers' crown.

That day, as he stood atop his car clad in the red of Ferrari, arms raised in jubilation, he would never have guessed that the win at Interlagos remains Ferrari's most recent celebration of a world champion.

Except that was exactly how the script played out for the Italian team, who have seen Red Bull and then Mercedes hog the limelight since.

It is a rude shock for F1's pre-eminent brand, one which has produced 15 world champions and won the constructor title a record 16 times.

But Raikkonen believes it is only a matter of time before they recapture the halcyon days of the early 2000s, when Michael Schumacher powered to five straight titles from 2000.

  • Singapore GP forms plan to drive touts away

  • Reports of touting before this weekend's Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix have prompted race promoter Singapore GP to protect race patrons by setting tickets aside in a number of categories only for sale on-site.

    Reselling tickets or purchasing them from an unauthorised agent is in breach of the conditions of sale and entry. Such tickets could be voided and the ticket holder may be denied race entry.

    Ticket resales are forbidden in order to discourage touting or hoarding of tickets. As a prevention measure, Singapore GP has set aside a number of tickets for purchase at certain official outlets.

    They can be bought at selected gates at the Circuit Park from today to Sunday, as well as the ticket collection centre at the Raffles City Convention Centre (Swissotel The Stamford, Level 4) from 10am to 10pm daily.

    Information on available ticket categories is available online at www.singaporegp.sg and via the ticketing hotline at 6738 6738.

The 36-year-old, who in July re-signed with Ferrari for next season, said: "We just need to keep working as we do, (keep) improving things (and) I'm sure we will get there. It takes time and we have to be patient and keep working.

"We have everything we need. We just have to do it."

Ferrari are not helped by rumours of tension among team officials, one which has seen technical director James Allison, highly regarded in F1 circles, quit.

They are third in the constructors standings, 11 points behind Red Bull and 219 behind leaders Mercedes.

Asked if there was any specific areas that needed work, such as pit strategy, car design or technical staff, Raikkonen, nicknamed the Ice Man for his frosty persona, said: "There's no specific area. (It's not) one thing that (when) fixed or improved (means) suddenly we are getting much better results.

"It's the whole package, (but) it's going there, going in the right direction. We're doing the right things but it takes time. It's not so simple."

The Finnish driver was speaking after an event with Ferrari sponsor Shell at Suntec Convention and Exhibition Centre, where he met students who had joined the Shell Eco-marathon Asia. The annual competition sees participants build energy-efficient vehicles from scratch.

Singapore are represented by two teams from Nanyang Technological University and one from the Institute of Technical Education.

After inspecting the three cars, Raikkonen said: "It's quite interesting to see what the teams have built... It's quite smart some of the things they have built."

While Ferrari have no wins so far this season, this weekend's Singapore Grand Prix represents a good chance for Raikkonen and team- mate Sebastian Vettel to break the duck.

Vettel has taken the chequered flag at the Marina Bay Street Circuit a record four times, including last year's race, where he was joined by Raikkonen on the podium in third place. Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo was second.

Not that Raikkonen is taking anything for granted.

He said: "Last year was quite strong for the team but it doesn't mean this year will be easy.

"Conditions (here) are different compared to previous races completely so it'd be interesting to see where we are."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 16, 2016, with the headline 'Raikkonen says Ferrari are on right track'. Print Edition | Subscribe