New year, new name, new car for formerly-Sauber Alfa Romeo Racing. Kimi Raikkonen started his comeback in the swiss-based team with a fifth place in day 1 of winter testing in Barcelona, as he covered 114 laps with his best in 1:19.462.
“Everything ran smoothly as we expected, I am not really surprised as now cars are reliable and we can run a lot of laps during testing days. So I am not surprised at all, obviously last year was different due to weather conditions”, Raikkonen said.
When he was addressed about his Ferrari farewell, he added: “This is just a different team, not better or worst, there are a lot of things to learn on new team. We've been working for a while now, in a very natural way, so as a driver I don't feel much differences. Today everything runs smooth, it was a very easy transition. The team is not as big as previous one but there are a lot of good people and everything it’s run nicely, so I enjoy it”.
Taking about the future, he commented about his hopes for 2019: “Target is to be as high as possible. I am not aiming anything, I just want to do the maximum we can. I have no doubt that results will come. What kind of results, nobody can say now. Working on the car, I am sure we can improve more. Nobody knows - even after testing - where we will be, we'll just know in Melbourne”.
Raikkonen’s words were followed by Frederic Vasseur, who confirmed: “Our target is to continue to improve the situation of the last couple of races. We want to improve on the sportive side but also on the company, the infrastructure, which it's less visible for you but it's important for our future.”
Vasseur also spoke about the importance of being Alfa Romeo: “We are focus on our project, you know where we were 1 year ago by this time, step by step we are improving. Alfa Romeo’s name gave a huge push to the team, everyone feel a big confidence. It will be helpful for the future”, he added.