Kimi Raikkonen is targeting a stronger start to the 2018 season than he had this year in order to put himself into championship contention.
Ferrari started this year in good form, with Sebastian Vettel winning three of the opening six races and finishing second in the other three. Raikkonen, however, failed to stand on the podium in the opening three rounds and then retired from the fifth race in Spain, leaving him well adrift in the standings from an early stage. After recovering to finish fourth overall by jumping Daniel Ricciardo at the final race, the Finn wants to start 2018 in better form.
“Obviously there’s only one championship winner every year and the rest aren’t very happy,” Raikkonen said. “You know if you are in some teams that your car is not going to be up there and you cannot expect to win it, but being in one of the top teams we always want to win and it’s pretty much a failure if you don’t win.
“It doesn’t matter what happened, there’s always a lot of reasons how the year unfolded and there hasn’t been just one reason. In the end only one guy is happy, and for us you can say the year wasn’t what we wanted. Some years your car is not strong enough so you can honestly say that’s why you didn’t win, but this year we were fourth-best and that’s how it goes.
“Next year we’ll try again, we’ll try to put things together in a better way, we’ll try to start the season stronger, in the first races, keep fighting, hopefully it will go our way sometimes, and it’s important not to have DNF’s like we had this year.”
Expanding on his failure to finish four races – including not even starting from second on the grid in Malaysia – Raikkonen says reliability has become a much bigger influence on final standings in recent years.
“These days the cars are usually very reliable, and you cannot expect people to have a DNF. In the past it was easier for that to happen, but now when you have a DNF you drop a lot of points.
“I think we had positive things too, but there are small things we have to improve. We should be OK, it will be a new year, everyone will be starting from zero, so let’s see what we can do in the tests and in the first races.”