SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS, Belgium: Kimi Raikkonen is confident that he can help Ferrari build a title challenge next season after resigning for the team for 2016.
The veteran Finn, 36 next month, told a news conference ahead of this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix that he felt at home with Ferrari and optimistic about the future.
The 2007 champion, who is a four-time winner of the classic Belgian race on the sweeping Ardennes circuit, said he was convinced the team was on the right track this season and would be stronger next year.
“We want to do as well as we can and hopefully challenge for the championship next year,” he said. “I am sure we can produce quite a bit better car next year than this year.
“The team is working well together, we all feel very good, but we have to try to do a good second part of the year and maximize what we have, and then prepare for next year.”
He said that his new deal for 2016 had no bearing on his feelings or his approach to this weekend’s contest.
“It doesn’t change anything for me. We still try to do the same at every race. The contract thing is not going to change our approach for the weekend or the end result.
“Hopefully the end result will be good, but we will do the same things in other races. Hopefully we can have a good race with no problems and we will see where we end up.”
Raikkonen said also that he was grateful to his teammate, four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel, for his support this season.
“I know him well and we have a very good relationship… He tells me and I tell him if we do well. There is a good feeling of respect in the team.”
He added that this comfort in the team was important for everyone.
“I am pleased to be working here again next year,” he said. “We are going in the right direction. I think there many happy days ahead in front of us.”