Sunday, January 6, 2008

Raikkonen eyes title repeat - Massa happy with his new 'baby'

Kimi Raikkonen believes that his thrilling, last-gap Formula One triumph in 2007 can provide the platform for a title repeat this season.

The Finn, speaking as Ferrari unveiled their car for the 2008 campaign, says being world champion has given him a new sense of belief following his one-point victory over feuding McLaren pair Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso.

"The fact that I won the drivers' world title last year gives me the confidence that I can do it again," said Raikkonen. "But I don't feel any stronger than last year."

The Finn admitted he will need a bit of time to adjust to the new car.

"The cockpit is a bit straighter, there's lots of innovations, above all we've lost traction control and it will be a bit difficult to control in the wet," he said. "There's still changes to be made but that's the same with every new car."

"We're ready and with (team-mate Felipe) Massa we have a good atmosphere and we'll try to keep that and fight to the end to retain our titles.

The F2008 car reflects changes made to the racing regulations for the new season with traction control and the electronically-assisted starting system removed. Other areas affected by the new rules are the gearbox, which must last four races, and safety elements regarding helmets.

Massa meanwhile said he felt very emotional about the new car and likened it to having a child. "I've never had a son but for the team it's like a baby has been born," said the Brazilian. "It's a special day and now we need to work hard to ensure that the child grows and becomes as fast as possible. The 2008 season is all about this child. I hope that this child will give us the ability to win."

Source AFP
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