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Page last updated at 17:29 GMT, Thursday, 23 April 2009 18:29 UK

Raikkonen rues Ferrari slowness

Kimi Raikkonen
Raikkonen has had a hugely disappointing start to the season

Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen says he cannot match the speed of early season pace-setters Brawn GP and Red Bull and does not see that changing any time soon.

Ferrari have failed to score any points in the first three Grands Prix, their worst start since 1981, and lie last in the F1 constructors' championship.

"We are probably one second behind the Brawn and Red Bull cars," he said.

"To catch them up it's not easy because everyone is going forward also. It's hard to catch up completely."

Between them, former world champion Raikkonen and team-mate Felipe Massa have managed only three finishes in the first three races of the year, the best performance being Massa's ninth-place finish in Malaysia.

606: DEBATE

Raikkonen's comments about the time gap are borne out by the statistics from qualifying at the last race in China.

The fuel-adjusted times showed Raikkonen, who qualified eighth fastest, was 1.096 seconds adrift of fourth-placed Rubens Barrichello in a Brawn car.

On fuel-adjusted times Barrichello was actually quicker than pole sitter Sebastian Vettel in his Red Bull.

Raikkonen said he expected Ferrari's fortunes to improve when the championship moved to Europe.

The first European Grand Prix of the year takes place at Barcelona on 10 May but before then there is one more race outside Europe, in Bahrain, where Massa has won for the past two years.

"The start of the season is not what we wanted but we don't have the speed right now," said Raikkonen.

Robert Kubica (left) and Kimi Raikkonen
Kubica (left) and Raikkonen (right) have struggled so far this season

"We will get some new parts at the next race but this race will be difficult again. Hopefully testing here [over the winter] helps a bit and this track could be better for us but we will wait and see."

Raikkonen admits Ferrari are "not in a position to fight" the early pace-setters and "have to make the best of what we can", but he denied feeling under any extra pressure because of his poor start to the season.

"For sure, I need to score points but I don't feel under any pressure," he said.

"We are all one team, we all feel not happy when we have bad races. But we will do the best that we can here and hopefully we will get some points."

BMW Sauber's Robert Kubica finished third in Bahrain last year, having taken pole.

Formula 1 is difficult to predict but today's situation is completely different to last year

Robert Kubica

Like Raikkonen he is awaiting his first points of the season, and he echoed many of the Finn's sentiments.

"I think the gap [to Brawn and the Red Bulls] is very similar, as Kimi mentioned," said Kubica, who will race for the first time in Sunday's GP with the new energy storage and power boost system (Kers).

"We are waiting for our Barcelona package which will probably be a big step forward but everyone is expecting to move forward in Barcelona with their aero packages, so we will just have to wait and see where we are.

"Formula 1 is difficult to predict but today's situation is completely different to last year.

"There are new teams that are very strong and old teams that are struggling, but this is the reality. There is nothing to panic about.

"We have to keep working and improving and to keep calm - everyone is working to get the situation back on track as we would like it to be. The situation is not ideal but we have to move forward step by step and try and catch the frontrunners."

Meanwhile, F1 championship leader Jenson Button predicted the desert heat will make Brawn hard to beat in Sunday's race after Red Bull triumphed in a wet China GP last weekend.

"It's going to be very hot, very different to most circuits and the tyre temperatures are going to be high," said Button.

"What we suffered in China with the tyre temperatures, hopefully we will have the opposite here."

And Button believes Toyota and Red Bull are likely to be the biggest threat to Brawn on Sunday.

"Those are the two teams we'll be looking out for most," added Button. "Flavio Briatore says Renault are going to be up there as well ... they might be, I don't know."



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see also
Ferrari predict end to poor form
19 Apr 09 |  Formula 1
Vettel seals first Red Bull win
19 Apr 09 |  Formula 1
Buoyant Vettel eyes more F1 glory
19 Apr 09 |  Formula 1
Chinese Grand Prix as it happened
19 Apr 09 |  Formula 1
The row that has split F1
17 Apr 09 |  Formula 1
Ferrari problems frustrate Massa
05 Apr 09 |  Formula 1
Ferrari
02 Nov 09 |  Drivers & Teams


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