Kimi Raikkonen has brought a new maturity to his work for the Ferrari team according to team principal Stefano Domenicali.
“I have found a more mature Kimi, more closely knit to the team,” said Domenicali. “He comes to Maranello almost every week to work with the engineers.”
Raikkonen rejoined the team this year following a three-year stint with them between 2007 and 2009. He won the world championship in his first season with the team, but finished behind team mate Felipe Massa the following year and was released from his contract early at the end of his third season.
Having returned to Ferrari, Raikkonen is now team mates with the driver who took his place in 2010 – Fernando Alonso.
“[Raikkonen] 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,” said Domenicali.
“Fernando is extremely intelligent and has managed to stay ahead in whatever car he has driven. He has an ability to interpret the race and to read it in an amazing way and I think he will make the most of the new regulations, which will require some stages of the race to be managed in a different way. We feel close to him partly because it was such a long time ago that we decided to invest in him.”
Domenicali said the decision to pair two world champions at the team – something Ferrari haven’t done in over sixty years – was “a rational choice, based on the need to have an expert driver pairing, with the one aim of it doing well for Ferrari”.
“I hope the track will show that it was the right choice,” he continued.
Domenicali indicated Ferrari’s policy of prioritising one driver in the championship will not change:
“Decisions are always carefully considered, but they always have the same aim, which is that the sporting decisions are taken to reach the team’s goals, as the interest of the team always comes before all else. Decisions we have taken in the past have always been reached in this spirit.”
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Image © Ferrari/Ercole Colombo