No doubt buoyed by Ferrari's claim that it will continue to support his bid for back-to-back Formula One world titles, Kimi Raikkonen insists that he is from giving up on 2008.

The Finn has been criticised for some lacklustre performances through the heart of the season, even though his results kept him in the hunt for the championship as the series reached the first of two all-new venues, in Valencia, at the weekend. Again, however, the Finn appeared below par - a problem highlighted by team-mate Felipe Massa's dominance of qualifying and the race - but, this time, there was to be no silver lining and useful points as his Ferrari engine gave up the ghost twelve laps from home.

Raikkonen, who has dropped 13 points off Lewis Hamilton's championship lead, admits to not having been on top of his game in recent races, but also maintained that there had been some factors affecting his performance that were beyond his control.

"I went to Spain with a good feeling, because it's always great to have a race in a new place and, on Friday, it went well for me," he reflected, "However, on Saturday, temperatures were lower and I had problems in qualifying. We should have been much more aggressive.

"There has been a lot of talk about my problems in qualifying, but the truth is, that in a couple of races - at Hungary and Germany - I made some mistakes and had to start from the sixth position. At Valencia, I missed the third position by a whisker and had to start from the dirty side of the track - which was a huge disadvantage.

"I couldn't pass the cars in front of me, while Heikki [Kovalainen] had much better grip and overtook me. From that moment on, with the leaders pulling away at one second per lap, I was racing for fourth place."

Despite hoping to gain places via strategy, the world champion's race was further compromised when he made another error during his second stop.

"When you get stuck in traffic on a track like that, there's hardly anything you can do, you just wait for the pit-stop," he confirmed, "Heikki and I came into the pit at the same time, but then I made a mistake and left too early. Unfortunately, Pietro Tempini was hit by the car and hurt himself, so not only could I not overtake to gain fourth position, but I even fell back on sixth."

Having dropped behind Toyota's Jarno Trulli as a result of the delay, things then got worse for the Finn.

"As things went, [sixth] would have meant at least three points, but then the engine blew without any warning," he sighed, "I came out of the last corner and felt that something was wrong. Then smoke came out of the back of the car.

"We knew that there might be a problem of this kind, after what had happened to Felipe at Hungary, but it's still a shame what happened in Valencia. It seems as if, this year, the street circuits don't work out for me. In four races, I've only got one point, at Melbourne, in a race where I didn't even finish due to an engine failure. Then there was the accident with [Adrian] Sutil at Monaco and the rear-end collision by [Lewis] Hamilton at the exit of the pit-lane in Montreal....."

With fans and experts alike suggesting that his desire has dimmed and now is perhaps the time for Ferrari to can his pursuit of a second world title in favour of supporting Massa as its rival to Hamilton and McLaren, Raikkonen is quick to point out that he is as determined as ever to put things right in the remaining six races of the season.

"It's useless to cry over spilt milk," he insisted, "What happened, happened and now we have to look ahead.

"This week I'll be at Monza for a test day and, next week, we'll go to Spa. I love this track - I'd like to race there all the year round. It's the best of the all the track and I hope that I'll have a car that works the way I want. I'll give it all to win again. If someone has doubts as far as my motivation is concerned, go ahead, but I want to win - more than ever!"