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Kimi welcomes equal treatment

Sky Sports logo Sky Sports 08-05-2015

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Kimi Raikkonen, a revitalised force so far in 2015, has praised the way the new-look Ferrari are being run by Maurizio Arrivabene, claiming there is a big difference in the situation at the team compared to last season. 

Ferrari, F1’s most successful team, endured a year of unprecedented turmoil in 2014 as their president, lead driver, two different team principals and a host of key technical personnel all left Maranello during their worst season for two decades.

Amid the off-track turmoil, 2007 world champion Raikkonen struggled badly on his return to the team from Lotus and finished a career-worst 12th in the standings with nearly three times fewer points than team-mate Alonso.

However, with the Scuderia emerging as a force to rival Mercedes so far this season, Raikkonen has returned to his best form, particularly in race conditions, and last time out in Bahrain beat new stable-mate Sebastian Vettel to claim his first podium since 2013.

And while stopping short of suggesting he wasn’t given parity alongside Alonso, Raikkonen made clear that Arrivabene was running the team differently to his predecessors and was keen for both of his driver to perform strongly.

“The team boss is different and you can have a different relationship with a different boss,” said Raikkonen.

“I know Maurizio from before [when he worked for Ferrari sponsor Marlboro] and we had a very good relationship and, yes, there’s a difference how the team’s being run this year and how things are being done inside the team.

“I think it’s only a good change and it’s the only way how it should be run and be good for the team.

“In the end in the team there’s two cars and, yes, we fight for the Drivers’ Championship as the drivers, but the team wants to win the manufacturers’ championship and you need to have two cars for that. In the end Ferrari wants Ferrari to win and they will give us both the same chances and fair treatment. So it’s up to us. We try to behave as well as we can against each other if we have to race, we try to beat each other, but in a good way and in the interests of the team.”

Asked if the current situation hadn’t always been the case, Raikkonen replied: “It’s different than last year and it’s a lot better.”

Although Raikkonen is seemingly enjoying a stronger relationship with Arrivabene than his short-lived predecessor Mattiacci, Ferrari’s new team principal has still made clear in recent weeks that the Finnish veteran has to earn a contract renewal.

Ferrari have an option on the 35-year-old’s services for 2016 and Arrivabene said at the last race in Bahrain that he was in no hurry to tie up Raikkonen for next season as “I don’t want the driver to fall asleep, I want to keep him up”.

Speaking on Thursday, the driver himself said he was happy to wait for Ferrari’s call.

“It is their decision and obviously it depends what they feel is right or wrong. I don’t think about it, let’s wait and see,” Raikkonen insisted.

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