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Page last updated at 14:45 GMT, Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Raikkonen tipped for form revival

Kimi Raikkonen
Raikkonen blamed mistakes in qualifying for his poor form last year

Ferrari expect Kimi Raikkonen to be back to his best in 2009, according to team director Stefano Domenicali.

Raikkonen, 29, won the drivers' title in 2007 but dropped to third last year after some lacklustre performances.

The Finn was outpaced by team-mate Felipe Massa, who ended the season in second place, behind Lewis Hamilton.

"Kimi wants to show, as president (Luca di) Montezemolo joked, that he's back to being his normal self and not his twin," said Domenicali.

"He can't wait to get in the car, while Massa is very fresh and has a lot of desire. He really matured last season."

Fernando Alonso is a great driver but we are more than happy with ours

Stefano Domenicali
Domenicali played down speculation that Fernando Alonso could leave Renault for Ferrari in 2011.

Raikkonen and Massa are both under contract at Ferrari until the end of 2010.

"Our drivers have contracts signed," he said. "Fernando is a great driver but we are more than happy with ours."

Ferrari unveiled its 2009 car - the F60 - on Monday, but teething problems curtailed its first day on the track.

It is common for F1 cars to encounter difficulties in their debut outings, but this season's rule changes have created new challenges for the cars' engineers.

The aerodynamics of this season's cars have been modified, with wider front wings and higher, narrower rear wings, in a bid to enable more passing.

The first official tests of the F60 are scheduled for next week in Portimao, Portugal, alongside the new models of several other teams.

However, all the teams are expected to further modify their 2009 cars before the season begins with the Australian Grand Prix on 29 March.

After that point, a new ban on in-season testing means teams will only be able to experiment with technical improvements during practice sessions on race weekends.

"Starting with the test in Portimao we will compare ourselves with the other teams. It will be interesting to see where our car is and where our opponents are," said Domenicali.

"This year I'm very cautious because we're starting with a project that isn't an evolution from the previous years.

"I think the crucial factor will be being competitive right from the start since we can't evolve during the season."

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see also
Massa positive about new Ferrari
13 Jan 09 |  Formula One
Massa gives new Ferrari first run
12 Jan 09 |  Formula One
New Ferrari breaks cover
12 Jan 09 |  Formula One
Last-gasp Hamilton takes F1 crown
02 Nov 08 |  Formula One
Ferrari keep Raikkonen until 2010
12 Sep 08 |  Formula One
Raikkonen defiant over poor form
28 Aug 08 |  Formula One
Alonso hints at switch to Ferrari
28 Mar 08 |  Formula One

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