Raikkonen: “Whole package” improved for Ferrari, but work remains

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The opening preseason test is hardly the time to declare true contenders. Kimi Raikkonen has long known this.

So while his Ferrari camp led three of the past four days of Formula One testing in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain – twice with Sebastian Vettel and with himself on Wednesday – Raikkonen said afterwards that it doesn’t mean all that much.

“It’s the whole package that has progressed, but there is still a lot of work to do,” said Raikkonen, who did acknowledge that the team had made “a good step forward” over the winter in developing the new SF15-T.

“We are not comparing ourselves to the others, we just got on with our own job, without looking at what they were doing. Times are of relatively little importance; what matters is that we have put together a good number of laps without having any real problems.

“Today’s conditions were not that easy, with too strong a wind blowing on track, but then it’s the same for everyone. As I said, we now have a good basis from which to start the development work.”

Two more F1 preseason tests are on tap for Barcelona next month, and they should provide a clearer view of which teams will start 2015 with an advantage and which teams will be on the back foot.

Ferrari’s undergone many changes leading up to this season in hopes of returning to contention. One of those changes involved the addition of a new team principal in Maurizio Arrivabene, and following the first 2015 test, Arrivabene said he was pleased that the team had “rediscovered its motivation and team spirit.”

“If one makes a comparison to last year [at Jerez], these past few days of testing have produced encouraging signs,” he said. “The team has worked well, both at home and at the track and our drivers did a great job, providing the engineers with valuable feedback.”

But like Raikkonen, he tempered his optimism.

“In terms of performance, I don’t think our competitors – one in particular – have shown their true potential over these past days,” Arrivabene said, likely referring to reigning World Champions Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes. “I think we will only discover the truth about them and about ourselves at the last Barcelona test session.”

Morris Nunn, former IndyCar and F1 engineer, team owner dies at 79

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Morris Nunn, a former Formula 1 team owner and a prominent fixture in the American Open Wheel Racing scene through the 1990s and the early 2000s, died at 79 on Wednesday after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease, according to the Indianapolis Star.

Nunn’s career in racing spans both sides of the Atlantic. He started in the 1960s as a driver before shifting his attention toward the mechanical side of the sport. He then founded a Formula 1 effort, dubbed Ensign Racing, which competed in over 100 F1 races between 1973 and 1982 – the team had a best result of fourth.

However, Nunn may be best known in the U.S. for his exploits in American Open Wheel Racing. He crossed the pond after closing the Ensign outfit in 1982, and was a part of the Patrick Racing team that won the 1989 Indianapolis 500 with Emerson Fittipaldi.

He moved to Chip Ganassi Racing in the 1990s, where he perhaps achieved the bulk of his success. He worked with Alex Zanardi as both his crew chief and engineer during Zanardi’s tenure from 1996 to 1998, and the combination saw Zanardi take Rookie of the Year Honors in ’96, followed by a pair of championships in ’97 and ’98 in the old CART series.

31 May 1997: Alex Zanardi (left) of Italy talks to Mo Nunn , engineer for the Target Ganassi Racing Team, at The Milwaukee Mile in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Nunn also won the 1999 championship with then CART rookie Juan Pablo Montoya.

In 2000, he formed his own team, Mo Nunn Racing, with driver Tony Kanaan – Bryan Herta also contested a trio of events for Nunn that year after Kanaan suffered an injury – and the outfit grew to two cars in 2001, with Zanardi competing alongside Kanaan.

Nunn also ventured into the series that is now called the Verizon IndyCar Series in 2002, fielding an entry for Felipe Giaffone. They went on to win one race that year (Kentucky Speedway) and Nunn’s outfit won another in 2003, with Alex Barron at Michigan International Speedway.

Nunn was a popular and highly regarded figure in the paddock, and a number of people in the racing world took to social media to offer condolences and tributes.

IndyCar on NBC’s Robin Miller offered this detailed look at Nunn’s life in the sport on RACER.com, covering the origins of his career and the impact he had on such drivers as Zanardi and Montoya.

Nunn was 79 years of age at the time of his passing.

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