Japanese GP - "Ferrari fans expect a lot from us"
If the F1 media thought they would be interviewing the Ferrari drivers against the background of the famous Mount Fuji, they were disappointed this afternoon, as misty, cloudy weather hung over the Fuji Speedway as teams and drivers had their first real look at this season's newest venue, which replaces Suzuka. Kimi Raikkonen was the first of the two Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro drivers to tackle the questions and he began with the briefest of comments about his last win in Spa a fortnight ago. "Looking back at Spa, life wasn't too difficult after the first pit stop and I knew what I needed to do to keep ahead," said the Finn. "But at the moment in the championship, we are the ones who are behind and we need to try and catch up. However, I have enjoyed the racing this year. It takes time after spending several years with another team but it has been a good year in terms of the racing and working with the team. I have no regrets about changing team and I am happy to be here! The atmosphere here is very good and I am happy with the way things have gone. For sure, we had some little issues with reliability but that is part of racing and, unfortunately, has cost us too many points, but we still have a small chance for the championship and we will try and make the most of it."
But will these last three circuits suit the Prancing Horse and its F2007?: "this new one is still a question mark, but we should know more tomorrow after practice," reckoned Raikkonen. "We will still try very hard at these last three races, trying to win every one. But that is the same as we have done at every race this year. I know the Ferrari fans around the world expect a lot from us, but in any case I expect the same for myself so I hope to make them happy. Who knows, maybe the others will have some problems. I went around the track here a couple of times this afternoon. It looks like a nice circuit and I think it will make for an interesting weekend."
Asked if he felt that fighting between the two McLarens might help the Ferrari cause, after Alonso and Hamilton had a first corner incident in the last race, Kimi did not regard it as too significant. "That was just a racing incident and neither of them came out of it too badly, but who know what might happen in the future." Raikkonen then dismissed media speculation that Alonso could move to Ferrari as "just talk. It would interesting to race him in the same car. But I don't think it is going to happen."
With the circuit in the mountains, there is always a chance of rain and the Ferrari man had this to say about the weather. "It would be okay to have either a race in the rain or in the dry. It is when it is in the middle that there is more of a question mark and more luck is involved, so I hope that is not the case. I would say my first impression is that this place is nicer than Suzuka, if you look just purely at the paddock and the facilities. But I am not sure if I would want to climb Mount Fuji!"