The Finn endured a difficult season – primarily frustrated by his
inability to get the best out of the F2008 in qualifying – and was
forced to play a supporting role to teammate Felipe Massa in the
closing stages of the year.
But despite the troubles, Ferrari kept their faith in Raikkonen and
team president Luca di Montezemolo has no doubt that the 2007 world
champion will be on top form again.
"I joke that we had Kimi until Magny Cours, then he was busy and he
asked a friend of his to drive," di Montezemolo told selected media
including autosport.com at Maranello.
"This friend was a very good driver. He put on Kimi’s helmet, but now we finally have the proper Kimi back again.
"For a while he looked like a centre forward who wasn’t scoring
goals, but as soon as he did you knew he will be okay again. We have
spoken recently and I think he is very, very determined and in good
form. Let’s not forget that in his first year at Ferrari he was world champion. He will be back for sure."
Di Montezemolo has also heaped praise on Massa, who earned
widespread respect at the end of the season for the way he drove in
Brazil and behaved following the title defeat.
"I was very proud of how he reacted to the situation," he said.
"Proud, calm, sporting, gracious, loyal. I like him very much. It’s a
Ferrari face I very much like. He did the maximum.
"We didn’t lose the championship in Brazil but at places like
Hungary and Singapore. They were not his mistakes, they were ours. I
remember Michael telling me in 2006 that this guy is bloody quick."
And although Ferrari dashed Fernando Alonso’s hopes of securing a
drive there when the extension option in Kimi Raikkonen’s contract was
taken up at Monza, di Montezemolo has not totally ruled out a tie-up in
"He’s a fantastic driver, no question. I like him. Particularly in
Japan he drove a great race. He’s a champion and a team leader, but for
the moment we don’t have any problem with our current drivers. That is why we confirmed officially Massa and Kimi until the end of
2010. Life is long and in the future we will see. But for the moment we
don’t have any grey areas regarding drivers for the next two years."
These are funny and interesting comments from Di Montezemolo. He’s very fond of Kimi so let’s just keep our fingers crossed for the next few months in testing, the Ferrari boys as well as Kimi have got a lot of work to do as the team haven’t been quite fond of the KERS and are behind schedule.
With new ruling under Domenicali after Todt’s leave, the Ferrari team is undergoing some managerial tweaking. During the past two days, there have been reports in Italian tv (Sky) and Corriere dello Sport that Kimi’s race engineer for the past two years, Chris Dyer (previously race engineer to Michael Schumacher), has been promoted to coordinator of engineering. So this means that Kimi’s new race engineer will be Andrea Stella, who previously acted as Kimi’s performance engineer. You will recognise Andrea working with Kimi throughout this year (pictured on the right at the Valencia GP) and most recently during the Jerez tests:
Here are the rest of the team members and their roles (courtesy of Tania for the translation):
– General Director: Stefano Domenicali
– Technical Director: Aldo Costa
– Engine, electronics and KERS: Gilles Simon
– Chief Designer: Nick Tombazis
– Project Kers Director: Thierry Baritaud
– Operations manager on track: Luca Baldisserri
– Sporting Director: Massimo Rivola (from Toro Rosso)
– Race engineer: Rob Smedley (Massa), Andrea Stella (Raikkonen)
– Engineers coordinator and testing: Chris Dyer
Ferrari have confirmed a reshuffle of their engineering staff ahead of the 2009 season.
Despite winning the Constructors’ Championship this year, the team
have not been afraid to make a number of changes that they hope will
help them in their quest for more success in 2009.
As well as recruiting Scuderia Toro Rosso team manager Massimo
Rivola to oversee sporting activity and logistics, Kimi Raikkonen will
have a new race engineer in Andrea Stella.
Team principal Stefano Domenicali confirmed the changes and team
restructure when speaking to the Italian press prior to the Christmas
"The operations direction disappears and Mario Almondo has become
responsible for quality at Gestione Industriale (the road car
division)," he told Gazzetta dello Sport.
"Massimo Rivola, previously at STR, will manage the sporting
activity and logistics, regulations and circuits. Production and
quality will go under the technical direction of Aldo Costa.
"We’ll also have some changes on our on-track organization, still
led by Luca Baldisserri. Andrea Stella – who already worked on
Raikkonen’s car as performance engineer – has been promoted to race
engineer, while Chris Dyer (Raikkonen’s former race engineer) has been
appointed to a coordinating role over the engineers, including the test
team. He will respond to Baldisserri.
"Diego Ioverno will be responsible for assembling, with the aid of
(former Super Aguri team manager) Mick Ainsley-Cowlinshaw. We also have
a man responsible for KERS development: it’s Thierry Baritaud."