Ferrari President Sergio Marchionne has praised Kimi Raikkonen saying that since he took over the role of chairman at the Prancing Horse last year he has seen a big change for the better in the Iceman.
Ferrari had an incredible 2015 compared to their 2014 campaign finishing the season in second place in the championship behind the Mercedes AMG PETRONAS F1 Team. Marchionne believes that the fact that Raikkonen is settled in his personal life being married with a son has enabled the Finn to concentrate more on his work for Ferrari and he believes that this will enable the 2007 world champion to have a ‘phenomenal 2016’.
Speaking a media Christmas lunch in Maranello on Monday Marchionne who took over from Luca Di Montezemelo at the end of last season reflected on a successful 2015 F1 season by saying:
2015 was a great season, “The only regret might be that we could have done even better but for a handful of mistakes. But overall, I am very pleased, considering where we started from this year, as that is the real reference point. In any case, I have great respect for our competitors and it will only be at the first race in Australia that we will see how things really stand.
Scuderia Ferrari Team Principal Maurizio Arrivabene also reflected on his first season in charge of the Italian outfit saying:
I learned to be a Ferrari man and what it means to work in this company. Then, over the course of the season, my role was simply to unite the team, to ensure that everyone, in their various departments, spoke to one another. When it comes to next season, there is no way one should start from the supposition that ‘we are making a step forward, therefore we will win.’ That’s partly because we finished second and therefore we need to start from the basis of what the winners will do, how much they will progress, especially as they dominated the past two seasons. And that is our aim. The new car? We are working on it and we are doing so with great professionalism, but above all with respect towards those who have already won.
Sebastian Vettel, in his first season with Ferrari having joined from Red Bull at the end of the 2014 season finished 2015 in third place in the championship having secured three wins along the way while Kimi Raikkonen had a vastly improved 2015 where he finished the year in 4th place in the championship having ending 2014 in 12th place.
Marchionne had only good things to say about his drivers Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel saying:
With every passing day Sebastian Vettel has become more of a Ferrari man and, from mid-season on, Kimi Raikkonen made a significant change for the better.