Raikkonen: Ferrari atmosphere better than ever

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Kimi Raikkonen believes that the atmosphere at Ferrari in 2015 is better than any he has experienced throughout his Formula 1 career, praising the changes that were made at Maranello over the winter.

The Finn endured a difficult return to Ferrari in 2014, finishing a lowly 12th in the drivers’ championship and with a best finish of fourth at the Belgian Grand Prix.

Raikkonen has made an improved start to the 2015 season though, finishing fourth in Malaysia and China as Ferrari’s revival begins to come to fruition.

Off track, a number of personnel changes were made at Maranello over the winter, and Raikkonen believes that the atmosphere is now better than ever for the team.

“I must say in the past when I was here in Ferrari there were good times and a good atmosphere, but this year is the best I’ve had in any team,” Raikkonen told reporters in Bahrain.

“How the team works together, how people work together, how the atmosphere is and how things have been going – that tells you a lot.”

Raikkonen’s contract with Ferrari expires at the end of the 2015 season, but the team does have an option to extend the deal by one more year and retain the Finn for 2016.

In a separate interview with the official F1 website, Raikkonen said that questions about his future could only really be answered by Ferrari.

“That is up to the team to decide,” Raikkonen said. “They have an option on my services, so go and ask them!”

Part of the improved atmosphere at Maranello appears to be a result of the arrival of four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel, who is good friends with Raikkonen.

The Finn admitted that having a teammate he could speak directly and frankly with was a big help, as is Vettel’s unpolitical nature.

“The good thing is that if there is something, we can talk to each other,” Raikkonen said. “We can talk to each other directly and not have to use mediators.

“But we don’t have any issues and I don’t expect us to have issues.”