Kimi Raikkonen: “Hopefully this year we can be strong”

Kimi Raikkonen - Credit: Scuderia Ferrari

Kimi Raikkonen believes his Scuderia Ferrari team have all the tools to get good results but are lacking some speed, which means recent results have been painful for the Italian team.

The Finn heads into the Japanese Grand Prix this weekend fourth in the championship standings but without a podium finish since the Austrian Grand Prix in July, but feels Ferrari are heading in the right direction and have improved in comparison to 2015.

Raikkonen hopes the weekend in Japan is one of Ferrari’s smoother weekends, which the Finn believes will mean the team will have a stronger outing compared to recent races.

“I like this track, it’s a nice and challenging circuit,” said Raikkonen. “When the car has a good balance and things run smoothly it’s great, but if you struggle to find the right set up it’s not the easiest place.

“If I remember well it was not too bad last year, so hopefully this year we can be strong. Starting from tomorrow we’ll see how it feels and what we found.

“There’s been a lot of difference between teams in many races so now it’s impossible to say where we are compared the others. At the moment in the team we have all the tools, we have great people, compared to last year this season we have been doing a better job with my team.

“We have all the support we need from Italy from all the people who work in the factory, but we lack a bit the overall speed. We have to improve, but it’s not simple and takes time. It’s a bit painful where we have been finishing lately but this is part of F1, we keep fighting.

“There are a lot of small details that have to be correct, everybody is pushing. The fans here are great, very passionate, they always give us great support. Hopefully we can give them a good result.”

Raikkonen admitted that returning to Suzuka brings back memories of Ferrari Driver Academy star Jules Bianchi, who tragically passed away following an accident at the track back in 2014.

“This place is full of good and bad memories, like Jules’ accident: it was a very sad day,” said Raikkonen. “We have to do our best not to make it happen again.”