Kimi Raikkonen believes the disappointing start to his second stint at Ferrari can be turned around.
The Finn has been largely overshadowed by his teammate Fernando Alonso as the new ‘Fire & Ice’ partnership at the Italian team has failed to live up to hype.
Many of Raikkonen's poor results can be blamed on a series of incidents in the first six races following collisions with McLaren’s Kevin Magnussen in Malaysia and Bahrain as well as picking up a puncture after brushing Max Chilton’s front wing under the Safety Car in Monaco.
It is also true that the former Lotus driver has been struggling to adapt to the handling characteristics of the F14-T but in Spain and early on in Monaco, Raikkonen had begun to show more of his old form.
In Barcelona the 2007 champion managed to hold the Spaniard behind for much of the race, despite the team seemingly favouring it’s perceived ‘number one’ driver, only for Alonso to finally benefit from his strategy and move clear in the closing laps.
While prior to the clumsy incident behind the Safety Car in Monaco, Raikkonen was running third; keeping Daniel Ricciardo’s Red Bull at bay.
When asked by Autosport about his poor luck the Finn said: “I have driven well many times, but there’s always been something going wrong in the races”
“It’s a shame. Again we had a good position [in Monaco] but got a puncture so it’s just bad luck.
“Small things go wrong and make a massive difference in the end.”
Raikkonen’s woes have only been part of a wider problem Ferrari have faced at the start of F1′s new V6 era.
As Mercedes dominate at the front, the Scuderia have been left floundering with a single podium for Alonso in China the only result of note.
Red Bull, with the widely perceived inferior Renault power unit, have also moved clear of the Italian team and looking ahead to this weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix, the Prancing Horse's may find themselves looking in their mirrors once again.
With the need for top speed down Montreal’s long straights, the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve will likely favour the three Mercedes customer teams who have been keeping Ferrari on their toes throughout the first six races.
Indeed in Bahrain, a track that also consists of many flat-out sections, Ferrari barely made the top 10 as Alonso and Raikkonen finished ninth and tenth respectively.
Going forward, however, Raikkonen believes the disappointing results will change and Ferrari will be back challenging at the front sooner rather than later.
“Obviously we need to improve in a lot of areas,” he was quoted by ESPN. “We’ve done a lot of things, particularly with the engine and stuff like that to improve already, but we are still lacking the speed we need to compete with Mercedes.
“We know what we have to do but those things are not easy to fix, it just takes time.”
Ferrari’s poor run also coincides with a slump at long-time rivals McLaren. F1 legend Alain Prost, who has driven for both teams, has previously suggested the more traditional operations at the two teams could be contributing to their problems as more modern approaches from the likes of Mercedes and Red Bull have seen them move ahead.
Ferrari’s Technical Chief James Allison, who was drafted in from Lotus last year, agrees believing the Maranello outfit needs to be more adventurous when developing its cars.
“Creativity and originality are really important parts of being competitive,” Allison told Autosport.
“If you want creativity in your car you have to plan for it and give space to the people to bring their creativity forward.
“If you force them to operate with their backs against the wall, up against deadlines that are very, very tight, then there’s no time for them to think about how they might approach something differently, because they only have one option – that’s to give you something they know will work.
“There is a wealth of talent at Ferrari – the experience and quality of the people on the technical side is the match of any team – it’s a matter of giving them the space and the encouragement to do unusual things, and know that if they fail there’s still time to put a backup plan in place.”
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