Kimi Raikkonen says no quick fix for his F14 T troubles but sees signs of progress
Finn also typically not flustered by early points deficit to Alonso
By Mike Wise in Bahrain and James Galloway. Last Updated: 03/04/14 8:07pm
Kimi Raikkonen has admitted it will take a little longer before he feels completely comfortable with the F14 T - but is confident both he and Ferrari will eventually make a breakthrough.
Amid problems since testing getting the front-end of the car to his liking, the Finn has experienced a low-key start to his Ferrari return. A seventh-place finish in Australia was followed by a Malaysia GP which started promisingly in practice but which was then effectively ended when Raikkonen's tyre was punctured by McLaren rookie Kevin Magnussen at the start of the race.
Meanwhile, Fernando Alonso has secured a pair of fourth-place finishes in the sister car and sits third in the nascent Drivers' Championship, 18 points ahead of his new team-mate.
Raikkonen, who denied at the last race that the F14 T's brake-by-wire system was at the root of his difficulties, says his side of the garage still have a long way to go to improve the car's set-up.
"In Malaysia the car was more or less the same as in Australia. Obviously we learnt some more just from running and then the circuit layout is different so those things can make a difference and overall I think we were much better," Raikkonen told reporters on Thursday.
"Obviously not where we want to be and then the race was destroyed, which was not really our fault, but that's how it goes. For sure there is still a lot of things to improve on all the areas and we know that. We have the right people and all the tools to fix those things, but unfortunately those things are not easy things to fix and it will take time.
"So I'm sure we know where we want to be and where we are aiming and we're going to get there, but it will take a little time. Hopefully we'll get some better results here and we can start a similar way to the last race but not having the issues in the race."
Although his ongoing travails have allowed Alonso the chance to establish some early momentum in their intra-team battle, Raikkonen says he isn't obsessing over what the Spaniard is doing.
Asked how he had found his first two races alongside his fellow former World Champion, Raikkonen replied: "It's more or less what I expected. Obviously I try to put the effort into sorting my own things out and be happy with the things and then I'm sure if we're happy we can get the results that we want. That's really the aim: sort out the issues we have and try to improve things overall.
"I haven't really put too much effort to see [what he's doing]. Obviously I see the laptimes and the data and stuff but it's not really anything out [of keeping with] what I would have expected. Obviously he has more points than us but there are many races for that and it's not really the thing I'm looking [at] right now."
Ferrari's biggest hurdle as a team remains the gap to early-season pacesetters Mercedes, with Alonso having finished 35 seconds behind the winning W05 in each of the opening two grands prix.
Raikkonen acknowledges the current advantage held by their rivals, but reckons Ferrari can make sizeable gains with the F14 T over the forthcoming races.
"Obviously they [Mercedes] have been looking strong over the tests, over the first two races but I'm sure we have some big gains that will come," the Finn added.
"I'm quite far from the points [lead] but that can all change. It was a little bit the new rules with only two races done so we try to do the best that we can and try to improve, but it's not easy to catch up with them. But we don't give up. We know what we have to improve and I'm sure that we're going to get there.
"If it's too late for championship I don't know, but I'm sure we know what to do."