Thursday, January 3, 2008

Raikkonen to debut new Ferrari

Dec.28 (GMM) 2007 F1 driver world champion Kimi Raikkonen will be the first to drive Ferrari's 2008 car.

According to the German news agency DPA, the 28-year-old Finn is scheduled to test the car with which he will defend his crown in 2008 on January 7, the day after it is launched.

The launch and test will take place at Fiorano, the Italian team's private circuit located near the Ferrari headquarters at Maranello.

Raikkonen's maiden test in the 2008 Ferrari will coincide with the presentation of top rival McLaren's new challenger in Stuttgart, Germany.

The next day, the Mercedes-powered team will begin testing the MP4-23 with two completed single seaters at an exclusive three day session at Jerez, Spain.

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Kimi Raikkonen, Alonso, equally good says Todt

Jean Todt says it is impossible to separate the talents of arguably F1's leading driver duo, Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso.

Raikkonen won the 2007 championship at the end of his first attempt in a Maranello built car, but double world champion Alonso is similarly regarded as perhaps the very best on the grid at present.

Between them, moreover, Raikkonen and Alonso are F1's only active title holders.

"I don't know if Kimi is better or worse than Alonso," Todt told the German magazine Auto Motor und Sport. "It is not for me to say - both are excellent drivers.

"Instead, the difference between them are their cars," he contended.

Alonso has been linked with a switch to Ferrari in the future, but Todt explains that Raikkonen is currently the most suitable of the pair for the Italian team.

"Of them, Kimi's character is best for us," the Frenchman confirmed, adding that he ideally would have maintained Ferrari's long and successful driving partnership with Michael Schumacher to the present day.

"Michael was the best candidate of all, but he did not want to (keep going)," Todt explained.

Todt said Schumacher, to continue as a part time advisor this season, was also offered and turned down the 'direzione sportiva' post; a job to instead be handled on the Ferrari pit wall by Stefano Domenicali in 2008 and beyond.

Source GMM
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