After the longest mid-season break in the F1 calendar, it was business as usual in a very hot and sunny Valencia, where Kimi Raikkonen faced the media in the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro motorhome, overlooking the harbour that forms a backdrop to this interesting street circuit. Business as usual maybe, but with a different driver line-up, as Luca Badoer deputises for Felipe Massa.
The Finn did not feel this would have much effect on his own weekend: “I don’t mind who is my team-mate and it will be work as usual for me, trying to do my best. It’s true that Luca has not raced for a long while, but he has been an important part of the team for a long time. It will be interesting to see how he gets on, although it will not be an easy weekend for him. But all of us in the team will get behind him and try and help him as much as we can. Hopefully, we can both have a good weekend. For the team it’s a bigger difference than for me, as I am still working with the same people as before. But as I said, we will try and help Luca in whatever way possible.”
As to Kimi’s expectations, they were dependent on the usual factors: “our performance varies according to the type of circuit and the type of tyre we have, so it is hard to make predictions,” explained the Finn. “If we get everything running the way we want and 100%, then maybe we can fight for a podium finish. But as usual, we will have to wait at least until tomorrow’s practice to get a better idea. The track here has some similarities with Monaco and Hungary, so it should be quite a good place for us.”
The F60 has proved more competitive in recent races and Kimi explained it was reaching the end of its development programme. “We will try and improve the car as much as we can, but we cannot do too much more with this car as we have to look also to next season,” he said. He also confirmed that the F60 would continue to run with KERS this weekend. “KERS has helped us all year, otherwise we would not still be using it and I am sure it will give us an edge here also, although I have not yet seen the precise data on this.”
And a final message for Felipe back home in Brazil: “I hope he gets better very soon and comes back to racing as soon as possible.”