Kimi Raikkonen insists that he is 'satisfied' Ferrari has a 'very good package' with which to begin the 2009 Formula 1 campaign, despite a number of troubling reliability scares in pre-season testing so far.
Whilst the Scuderia's
new F60 has invariably proven to be fast at whichever track it has been testing – from Barcelona to Jerez to Bahrain – it has not yet demonstrated the durability to match, with the controversial KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems) technology providing the greatest cause for concern.
Following a failure in Bahrain, a loss of cooling liquid from the energy-saving device on day two at Barcelona this week just ten laps into a race-distance simulation meant the team's planned programme had to be aborted – albeit a setback that did not prevent Raikkonen from setting the quickest lap of the test to-date. The Finn is adamant there is no great reason to panic.
“We had a problem with the KERS cooling system,” he explained, “and we preferred to stop and not risk greater damage. Until then everything went really well. I think that once we've resolved these small problems with the reliability, we can say that we've got a very good package available.
“Sure, I would have liked to do a second race simulation after the one we did in Bahrain in February, but it's better that some things happen during the tests and not at a grand prix.”
Before team-mate Felipe Massa takes over at the wheel for the final two days of pre-season testing at the Spanish circuit on Wednesday and Thursday, Raikkonen also spoke of his expectations for the curtain-raising Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne at the end of the month.
Whilst revealing that he is confident Ferrari has done all in its power to be as ready as possible come the trip Down Under, he was unwilling to predict just how the pecking order will shake out as F1 heads into its brave new technological dawn – promising on paper at least, the most open and unpredictable campaign in years.
“Honestly, I've no idea who could be seen as the favourite,” the 29-year-old stressed. “There has been a great equilibrium until now between the teams, and I think that we have to wait until Melbourne to know more. From our point-of-view I can say that I'm satisfied with what we've done at the test sessions during the winter.
“The car behaves very well and that's what's most important; we've checked that on different circuits. Sure, we did have some minor problems with the reliability, but nothing we can't resolve in the works, and then the weather sometimes didn't work out for us and we wanted to drive a couple of miles more.
“It doesn't make any sense looking back, though. I can't wait for the races to start. You know that I like the races best in Formula 1.”