Ferrari targeting third, reveals Raikkonen
24 July 2009
Kimi Raikkonen has confirmed that Ferrari's improved performance has led it to believe that it can still claim a top three position in the Formula One constructors' standings by the end of the season.
The Scuderia's pursuit of the 2008 F1 titles left it chasing the pack when it came to being ready for the new 2009 regulations but, along with nemesis - and fellow struggler - McLaren, the team has made steady progress through the heart of the season, culminating in Felipe Massa adding a second podium to its tally last time out in Germany.
Although the Brazilian insisted at the time that the result did not mark a return to frontrunning form for Ferrari, Raikkonen has since revealed that the Maranello concern has Toyota firmly in its sights. The two teams are separated by just 2.5 points after nine rounds, but the Scuderia clearly appears the better-placed for the run-in to Abu Dhabi.
"I think the team target is to try to finish in third place in the championship, I think that's what we're aiming for," Raikkonen told journalists in Budapest, "For myself, I will try to win as many points as I can, as many good results as we can and that's all we can try to do.
The Finn's personal ambitions will receive a fillip this weekend as his car finally gets all the new parts that Massa enjoyed at the Nurburgring, but he admits that he was expecting the F60 to have been competitive in Hungary regardless, and to benefit from it use of KERS.
"My car has some new stuff - a new front wing from what we had in the last race [where], unfortunately, we only had one part," he confirmed, "We have some new floor parts and a rear wing too so, hopefully, it will help us. This circuit is more like Monaco and the car seemed to be working pretty well there, so hopefully we can have a bit better weekend than the last one.
"We will find some advantage with the KERS. If you get a good run out of the last corner, then definitely the KERS will help you. On the start, it will help you as it is quite a long straight before the first corner."
Raikkonen also has a decent record at the Hungaroring, having both won and taken pole at the sinuous Budapest venue.
"It is quite a nice circuit," he said, echoing the feelings of several rivals, "For driving, it is quite a good challenge. It is not easy to get the car right here but, for the racing, it can easily get a bit boring. It is a bit more like Monaco though, here, it is slightly easier to overtake - although you need to be quite a bit faster than the guy in front of you to get past him. We will see how it goes, but it is a nice place to come."
As soon as F1's summer break kicks in after Hungary, however, the Finn will swap tarmac for gravel as he tackles his WRC debut in his homeland, driving an Abarth Punto S2000 car with Kaj Lindstrom on the pacenotes.
"I think it will be a completely different thing," Raikkonen admitted, "I have done a few rallies, but it is like club races compared to the Finland Rally. I will just go there and have fun and hopefully we are going to make it to the end and that would be nice."
German GP winner Mark Webber has admitted that he thinks it is good that his rival is taking to the lanes and jumps of Finland between races.
"Honestly, I think it's a real credit to Kimi that he's having a crack at it," the Aussie commented, "It's a really brave thing to do, so I wish Kimi all the best for tackling one of the hardest rallies in the world. We should take our hats off to him, so good luck with it."