Kimi Raikkonen believes he and Ferrari only need to work on small details to be able to fight for the championship in 2018.
It is ten years since Raikkonen became world champion with victory in the 2007 Brazilian Grand Prix, an achievement that remains Ferrari’s most recent drivers’ title. This year, Sebastian Vettel has been Lewis Hamilton’s closest rival but the Briton secured a fourth world championship last time out in Mexico, with Raikkonen having never been in the picture after a slow start to the year.
Looking ahead to next season, Raikkonen believes there are no major weaknesses for Ferrari or him to address to be in the fight for both championships.
“Obviously I want to be fighting at the front, every weekend, to be able to fight for the championship next year,” Raikkonen said. “We started this year pretty badly, we were not where we should have been. Personally, on my side, I was not very happy with the set-up and it took quite a long time to figure it out.
“Since then it has been better, but we’ve also had too many DNFs for different reasons. As a team we’ve come a long way from year to year – even from last year, we’ve done a good step to get where we want. What we want is for Ferrari to win both championships, but I think we have the right tools to do it. Next year we need tidy up things and not make mistakes, and then we should be OK.
“It’s the small things, here and there, that have played a big part this year. In the end we have a great car, great tools, now there are two races to go and we’ll try to make the most out of them, doing the same work we’ve been doing in the last few races and then, next year, we start from zero next year and we move forward.”
Reflecting on this season, Raikkonen adds there are no guarantees the improvements made in 2017 will carry over to next year.
“It’s very simple – where we are in the championship is how good or how bad we’ve been this year,” he said. “We have to learn from some of the things that didn’t work this year and we’re working to make things better next year.
“We start from zero next year but it depends on so many things over the winter. In testing we’ll get an idea of where we are and then in the first races we’ll see. We obviously aim to do better, because as a team we want to fight for the championship. It was better this year, but it can always be better.”